TOPEKA, Kan. (CN) – The Kansas Supreme Court upheld the state lottery, rejecting the Kansas attorney general’s claim that the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act establishing the lottery violates the state constitution.
Since Kansas’ admission into the union in 1861, its constitution has state, “Lotteries and the sale of lottery tickets are forever prohibited.”
It wasn’t until 1974 that voters amended the constitution to allow certain types of gambling, including bingo games. In 1986, Kansans voted to permit betting on horse and dog races, and to authorize a “state-owned and operated lottery” until 1990.
The Legislature has since extended the lottery in 1990 and 2007, with the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act, which the attorney general challenged.
At issue is the meaning of the constitution’s provision that the lottery must be owned and operated by the state. The attorney general advocated the narrow view that the state, and only the state, can own and control the lottery – from the ticket booths to the gaming equipment to the staff payroll.
The court looked at how its sister jurisdictions defined ownership and concluded that “ownership and operation are flexible concepts.” Justice Rosen wrote that the amendment, “while not providing for total and unambiguous ownership and operation by the state, contains sufficient indices of ownership and control for it to comply with the constitutional mandate.”