Million-Dollar Win Raises Questions on New Mobile App

Last week, St. Paul college student Brandon Stevenson won a $1 million Powerball drawing using a new mobile app that critics say amounts to online gambling, which is still illegal in Minnesota.

This story may be just one of several examples of changing times to come, however,  following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in May to remove federal restrictions on sports betting. The biggest winners from that outcome are expected to be online gambling platforms such as the app used by Stevenson.

The 20-year-old Concordia University student bought his ticket via an app called Jackpocket, which became available in Minnesota just two weeks prior, according to the Pioneer Press. New York-based Jackpot functions as a third party to allow users to purchase state lottery tickets on their smartphones. It derives revenues through ticket sales fees and sharing of sales commissions with vendor partners and thus far only operates in New Hampshire and Minnesota.

Jackpocket reached an agreement with the Minnesota Lottery to operate in the state and considers the third-party arrangement to be legal. Yet some question why the arrangement was not first discussed and either allowed or denied by the Minnesota Legislature.