In Michigan
5:13 pm
Fri July 9, 2010

MI Lottery says boycotting bar owners will put licenses at risk

LANSING, MI –

State Lottery officials say bar and restaurant owners who join a Lottery boycott this weekend could lose their right to sell games and tickets. The businesses are protesting the state's ban on smoking in workplaces.

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The bar and restaurant owners want the Legislature to amend the law to allow their customers to smoke. Some owners say they've lost business since the smoking ban took effect May 1.

They are trying to send a message to Lansing by refusing to sell Lottery games this weekend. But state officials say they won't play along.

Andrea Brancato of the state Lottery says retailers who that join the boycott are breaking their contract and risk having their licenses to sell Lottery products suspended or taken away altogether.

"When we make an agreement with a retailer, it is for them to sell tickets," she says.

Brancato says the Lottery is still considering sanctions against about 220 Lottery agents who took part in a boycott last month that lasted several hours. She says the lost sales cost the state School Aid Fund $37,000.