Oklahoma will have 3,500 lottery outlets after the statewide game gears up later this year, one for every 1,000 residents, the state's lottery director said.
Speaking at the Oklahoma Grocers Association conference at the Cox Convention Center Wednesday, Director Jim Scroggins said about 80 percent of the tickets will be sold in grocery and convenience stores and retailers can expect a return of about 6 percent.
Scroggins promised to keep retailers happy, because "we're not going to succeed unless we make you successful."
He started his new job this week after being hired away from Missouri, where he had the same title.
He predicted retailers in the Joplin area will lose $5 million to northeast Oklahoma in the lottery's first year.
The lottery is expected to offer scratch-off tickets in October and electronic tickets a few months later, with a multistate offering such as Powerball coming next year. It is expected to generate $150 million a year for education when fully implemented.
Oklahoma's lottery law requires 30 cents from each dollar to go to education. Scroggins predicts 50 percent will go to prizes, with 20 percent left over for retailers and operational costs.
Scroggins and his commissioners have been trying to figure out how to streamline criminal background checks on ticket sellers, as required by law.
"We've got to figure out what the law says and what's feasible," Scroggins said.
Applications for 621 retail outlets were turned in Wednesday.
Shirley and Denny Combs, who own a Conoco station east of Eufaula, said they were concerned that tribal casinos, with a steady flow of proven gamblers, will undercut retailers.
"Right now, they have a monopoly. It just seems unfair," Shirley Combs said.
Scott Meacham, the new state treasurer, said the lottery law doesn't permit casinos to be excluded from selling tickets.