Posted: Thurday, July 7, 2005



Lottery Foes Sue to Stop Mega Millions in State

By Nancy Vogel
Los Angeles Times
July 7, 2005

SACRAMENTO Gambling opponents sued Wednesday to shut down Mega Millions, arguing that the California Lottery lacks authority to join the 12-state game without legislative approval.

The suit, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, seeks an injunction halting the 2-week-old game in California until the Legislature can vote on the issue.

"This is a democracy, not an autocracy," said Los Angeles attorney Nicholas P. Roxborough, representing plaintiffs that include Artesia City Councilman Antonio Mendoza and the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion. The lawsuit argues that the initiative voters passed 21 years ago to create the lottery does not explicitly allow the Lottery Commission to join an interstate game.

With little public debate, the three Lottery Commission appointees of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger voted unanimously in February to join Mega Millions with the hope that the game's higher jackpots and greater odds against winning would boost lottery sales by as much as $500 million a year.

Under state law, 34% of lottery revenue is given to public schools.

Several days before the June 22 launch of Mega Millions in California, the legislative counsel's office, which offers legal advice to lawmakers, questioned the lottery's authority to join such a game. But lottery officials argued that the attorney general's office had scrutinized their arrangement with Mega Millions and found no violation of California law.

"We will handle the lawsuit as professionally and respectfully as possible and move forward from there," said lottery general counsel Melissa Meith.

----------------------

Press Release Source: Roxborough, Pomerance & Nye, LLP

ADVISORY/California Citizens Sue Mega Millions Lottery

Wednesday July 6, 2005
Press Conference Thursday, July 7, 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 6, 2005

WHAT: A Petition for Writ of Mandate is being filed tomorrow in the Sacramento Superior Court, seeking an injunction to shut down the state's Mega Millions multi-state lottery game. The Petition challenges the California Lottery Commission's authority under Proposition 37, passed by the voters in 1984, and its unilateral decision to join the multi-state lottery game without obtaining the required legislative approval.

WHO: Attorneys Nick Roxborough and Fred Jones, who represent the plaintiffs which include citizen organizations, will be available for interviews following the filing to discuss the legal merits of the case, potential outcomes of the lawsuit, and impact to California's education system.

WHERE: The State Capitol Building, Room #2040, Sacramento, CA

WHEN: Thursday, July 7, 10:00 a.m.

WHY: According to plantiffs' attorneys, the California Lottery Commission never notified or sought the approval of the Legislature, nor considered going to the voters for explicit authority to join the Mega Millions lottery. The plaintiffs allege the Commission intended to stifle public notice and debate by its lack of appropriate disclosure, evident by the fact that the Commission devoted only a single public hearing on the matter after a mere four day public notice issued on a Friday evening.

According to attorneys, with the exception of New Jersey, which has provided sweeping powers to its state lottery, all other eleven Mega Millions states have explicit authorizing statutes to participate in multi-state lotteries. Plantiffs believe California should not be the exception. California voters should have the right to determine whether or not participation in this multi-state venture serves the interests of California's education system and citizens.

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