Lottery ticket vending machines could soon be banned, at least from Massachusetts supermarkets where public health advocates say that minors are allowed to purchase tickets from the machines, raising the possibility that other states could also consider getting rid of lottery vending machines.
The Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University in Boston says that a 14-year-old was able to purchase scratch-off lottery tickets at two separate locations, both of them at Star Market, a popular supermarket chain in New England. The 14-year-old bought scratch lottery tickets at Star Market supermarkets in Cambridge and Somerville, both immediate suburbs of Boston.
Massachusetts law, as well as laws and lottery regulations in most states, prohibit gambling by minors, which includes a ban on selling lottery tickets to individuals under 18 years old.
While the Northeastern group stopped short of calling for an outright ban on the vending machines, a letter send by the PHAI called for “explicit controls” on the vending machines; in particular, keeping the machines away from areas where children would be likely to hang out in the grocery store.
The PHAI alleged that the lottery machines were placed near areas where candy and snacks were sold.
The letter also calls for the lottery machines to be locked, requiring a store employee to unlock them — much like cosmetics cabinets are often locked — before they could be used to purchase tickets, and the employee would need to check IDs of prospective lottery players before unlocking the machine.
While Star Market has not yet replied to the PHAI letter, the group said that if 30 days went by without a response, it would go to court to get an injunction against the continued operation of lottery instant ticket vending machines, as well as a fine of $25 per sale of each lottery ticket.
Meanwhile, the Powerball lottery held its 79th drawing of 2014 on Wednesday night, but none of the 11,576,059 tickets sold matched all six numbers, so the jackpot now rises to $60 million for Saturday’s drawing.
The drawing was just the second since a winning $225 million Powerball ticket was sold in San Mateo, California, with the lottery prize being claimed by a nail salon technician the next day.
One ticket sold at downtown Baltimore food market did match the first five numbers, but not the Power Ball, for a $1 million cash prize.
The winning Powerball lottery numbers drawn at 10:59 pm in Tallahassee, Florida, were as follows:
1 — 4 — 18 — 20 — 45 Power Ball 7
The cash value of Saturday’s Powerball jackpot to a winner who claims the lottery prize as a single payment is estimated at $36.4 million.