Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
August 30, 2002
Susan G. Townsley
Division of Special Revenue
555 Russell Road
Hartford, CT 06111
Dear Ms. Townsley:
This is in response to your request for an expedited opinion on whether the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) may legally sell lottery tickets at a booth within the Connecticut building at this year's Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, from September 13-29, 2002. For the following reasons, our conclusion is negative.
The question is prompted by a request from the CLC for a special license from your agency, the Division of Special Revenue (DOSR), to sell instant and on-line lottery tickets from four terminals located inside the Connecticut building at the Eastern States Exposition. The DOSR regulates the state lottery and licenses employees of the CLC and lottery sales agents. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-568a.1 However, the operation and management of the state lottery is the responsibility of the CLC. Id. Under this statutory scheme, the CLC must certify applications for licenses for the sale of lottery tickets, authorizing submissions and confirming that it will activate such applicants upon licensure. Reg. Sec. 12-568a-6(a)2 The DOSR may license private businesses as lottery sales agents, Reg. Sec. 12-568a-6(b)3 and can license the CLC to sell tickets at locations. Reg. Sec. 12-568a-7.4
The provision in this licensing scheme pertinent to the instant question is Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-813(a). This provision requires that proposed venues for lottery ticket sales be in Connecticut only. The statute provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-813(a) (Emphasis added).
This requirement is plain and unambiguous. The phrase "in the state" means in Connecticut. See e.g., Chase Manhattan Bank v. Gavin, 249 Conn. 172, 176 n.7, 733 A.2d 782 (1999) ("resident of this state" means resident of Connecticut). In this circumstance, we need look no further than the words themselves because we assume that the language expresses the legislative intent. MacDermid, Inc. v. Dept. of Environmental Protection, 257 Conn. 128, 154, 778 A.2d 7 (2001) (Quotations and citations omitted).
Our next step in the analysis is to determine whether the Eastern States Exposition is in Connecticut. Ordinarily, the answer would be obvious. The Big E, as it has been affectionately known to generations of New England county fair-goers, is located in West Springfield, Massachusetts, as you note. That is not Connecticut.
However, a unique feature at the Big E is the Avenue of the States. The Big E began in 1917 as a showcase for agriculture and manufacturing. Its founder, Joshua L. Brooks, reportedly wanted it to be a regional event. He wanted each of the six New England states to construct a building that could display its character and products. The States accepted the invitation, and this area of the fair grounds became known as the Avenue of the States. See History of Eastern States Exposition, http://www.thebige.com/detpages/corporate_info63.html (visited August 30, 2002). Massachusetts contributed a replica of the Boston State House in 1919. Buildings from Maine and Vermont followed. In the 1930's, both New Hampshire and Connecticut contributed their structures, and, in 1958, Rhode Island finished its building. The Connecticut building is a replica of the Old State House in Hartford. Along the Avenue of the States, each State is the owner of the building and land that the structure is built upon. Consequently, the Big E boasts that visitors "can literally stroll through all six New England States. And, as they travel, they can sample both the architectural style and traditional foods and wares that exemplify each state." History of Eastern States Exposition, supra. Connecticut does, in fact, own its exhibition building and the land upon which it rests on the Avenue of the States. You supplied us with a copy of the deed showing that the Eastern States Exposition Corporation conveyed the property to the State of Connecticut in 1938. Exhibitions, management and maintenance at the building are responsibilities divided between the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Department of Public Works. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 22-6, 32-6. This history demonstrates that the State of Connecticut owns land in Massachusetts. However, this does not constitute a cession of land from Massachusetts to Connecticut qualifying the lot as being in the State of Connecticut as required by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-813(a). Cession involves a transfer of political jurisdiction and legislative power. See Ponce v. Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, 210 U.S. 296, 310, 28 S.Ct. 737, 52 L.Ed. 1068 (1908). No such transfer occurred in the instant conveyance. To the contrary, the deed refers to the situs of the property as being in West Springfield, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
You further advise that a New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General verbally advised your staff that Massachusetts passed legislation affording the property the legal status of each respective State; that Massachusetts has granted sovereignty over this land to each respective State, similar to a foreign embassy. An Eastern States Exposition official gave us a similar account. However, we have been unable to find any proof of such a transfer, within the limited time available to search, despite research and request. Neither you nor the Connecticut Lottery, Eastern States Exposition, Massachusetts Attorney General's Office or Massachusetts State House Library could locate any such proof either, to date.5 If any proof does come to light, we would be happy to review the material and revisit this opinion.
In the absence of such proof, and for all of the above stated reasons, we conclude that the Connecticut building at the Eastern States Exposition is not in the State of Connecticut and, therefore, your agency cannot approve the application of the CLC for the sale of Connecticut lottery tickets at that location.
Very truly yours,
Robert F. Vacchelli
Assistant Attorney General
1Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-568a provides as follows:
2Reg. Sec. 12-568a-6(a) provides:
3Reg. Sec. 12-568a-6(b) provides:
(1) The financial responsibility of the applicant. In this connection, the division may conduct an investigation into the credit worthiness of the applicant as it relates to the integrity of the applicant utilizing the services of a commercial credit-reporting agency. The CLC may require that the applicant post and maintain a surety bond at applicant's sole expense in an amount determined by the CLC.
(2) The veracity and completeness of the information submitted with the license application;
(3) The applicant's reputation for honesty and integrity;
(4) Insofar as permitted by law, any record of criminal convictions;
(5) The security of the particular business premises designated in the application as a lottery sales location.
(6) Certification of municipal tax compliance; and
(7) Such other information as the division may deem pertinent to the issuance of a lottery sales agent license, including, but not limited to, the provisions of section 12-568a-10(d) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.
4Reg. Sec. 12-568a-7 provides:
(1) Length of licensure;
(2) Establishment of hours and days of sale;
(3) Locations of sales as will be permitted; and
(4) Limitation as to specific charitable, social, or other special events.
(b) Applicability of other regulations. All other regulations shall apply to a special lottery sales agent license.
5In fact, there is some proof that Massachusetts continues to exercise authority over the states' lots. In 1949, the Massachusetts legislature voted to exempt the states' lots at the Eastern States Exposition from local property tax. 1949 Mass. Acts ch. 348. This legislation would have been superfluous if the lots were not in Massachusetts. We cannot construe legislative language so as to render it superfluous, void or insignificant. Nizzardo v. State Trafic Commission, 259 Conn. 131,158, 788 A.2d 1158 (2002).