Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Minnesota Lottery preying on Minnesotans.

The Minnesota Lottery is working to take more money from Minnesota's problem gamblers.  They're doing this by starting a pilot program placing lottery tickets at ATMs and gas pumps.  The reason this initiative targets problem gamblers is they disproportionately account for a large majority of sales.  It's estimated that 10% of gamblers account for 70 to 80% of video gambling/ lottery sales.
Lottery jackpots are growing bigger more quickly, and ticket sales are soaring all over the country.

Now Minnesota is the first state to make buying tickets even faster, at gas pumps and ATMs.

With a debit card, driver's license and cellphone number, buyers can try their luck at a touch screen. The system is being piloted at nine gas stations and 19 ATMs in the Twin Cities, allowing people to buy quick-pick Powerball and Mega Millions tickets without going inside to a counter. Since October, about $5,260 worth of Powerball tickets have been sold that way.

"People are always in a hurry nowadays," said Minnesota Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten. "The thought is it takes 10 to 15 seconds to go through the process, and I think people would say, 'Why not. I'll give it a shot.' "

Andrew Anderson, who works at the BP station at Calhoun Beach in Minneapolis, said in the days leading up to last week's record Powerball drawing, many patrons avoided convenience store counters.

"A lot of people just want to pay at the pump now," Anderson said....

Lottery buyers insert their debit card into the slot used to pay for gasoline. They then select a prompt to buy tickets, choose how many, and after entering a cellphone number and other identification information, a ticket is dispensed with their numbers. A $1 fee is charged for each transaction, and the minimum is three Powerball or five Mega Millions tickets. A text message also is sent to a cellphone with a link to the numbers....
The convenient way of buying a lottery ticket arrives when sales in Minnesota already are at an all-time high. Sales for the 2012 fiscal year, which ended June 30, topped $520 million, an increase of $15.6 million from the previous year.

Minnesota was one of at least two dozen states to post record sales over the past year.

For last week's big Powerball jackpot, 130,000 tickets a minute were being sold nationally — about six times the volume two weeks ago.

The large jackpots often cause sales to skyrocket, which means higher revenue for participating states....
Andrea Davis, 23, of Minneapolis, was one of them. She only occasionally buys lottery tickets, but the new technology may change that.

"I'd be more apt to buy one if I don't have to come inside," she said. "I usually pay with my debit card at the pump."
Traditionally, a problem gambler had to venture out to casino or go up to a window to buy tickets, now they can do it when they get cash from an ATM or buy gas.


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