Lotto Tickets, Gas Pumps: California Selling Lottery Tickets At Gas Pumps, Fuels Controversy

Purchasing lotto tickets at gas pumps may seem far fetched. However, California is now allowing gas stations to sell lottery tickets at the pump, which has started fueling controversy over gambling issues.

Apparently, the “convenient stores” aren’t as convenient as one might hope, and the California lottery officials are hoping to gain lottery sales from the people who pay at the pump and choose not to go into the store.

“Gas stations are one of our key retail locations. So if we’re seeing that many people who aren’t going into the store, we need to find a way to try and put our products in front of those people,” California lottery spokesperson Alex Traverso said, according to CBS News.

The new program, called Play at the Pump, is slowly being revealed across the state and will allow Californians the opportunity to purchase up to $20 worth of Quick Picks at the same time they are paying for their gas with their credit cards.

Not only is it a new idea to be able to pay at the pump, it is also a first for California to allow lottery players to purchase tickets using anything but cash. Since the lottery started in the state in 1985, California has had a strict cash-only policy for ticket purchases, according to SFGate.

California joins North Carolina, Minnesota, and Missouri as the only states to currently allow “self-serve” lottery tickets. So far, 90 gas stations across the state are participating in the program, with hundreds more awaiting approval from the state. The process is fairly simple; all you do is swipe your driver’s license and credit/debit card and take your tickets.

While the Play at the Pump program may sound like a good idea, there are many people who are concerned about the increase in gambling now that people can use cards to buy their tickets.

“The people who are actually buying the tickets and the people who are making up the majority of lottery revenue are people who are poor, people who are undereducated and people who are addicted,” Bert Klasey, who created the documentary film Out Of Luck, said. “The fact that you can gamble on a credit card is a really scary proposition.”

However, the lottery officials say they have made rules to help regulate the extent of the gambling using the gas pumps.

“It’s capped at $20 a day and $50 a week, so we feel comfortable with those levels and feel like that’s a responsible amount,” Traverso said.

What do you think about lotto tickets being sold at the pump? Leave your comments below.

[Photo via video screenshot]