For some North Carolina gas station and convenience store owners, the chance to sell lottery tickets is something they have sought for decades.
Now that it's here, even those as leery of the lottery as the lawmakers who fought for years against its creation are likely to get into the game.
"We have not polled our people, but it seems like there's always been a big split," said Doug Howey, governmental-affairs director for the N.C. Petroleum Marketers Association, whose members include hundreds of service stations. "The bottom line is that if you are in business and your competition has the lottery, you will, too."
After decades of debate, lawmakers in North Carolina agreed this week to make the state the last on the East Coast to start a lottery.
That means North Carolinians who have had to drive to gas stations and convenience stores in neighboring states to buy lottery tickets will be able to gamble, perhaps in six months, at the corner store.
"Everybody has a dream, and this is what it's all about," said Eddie Zaghari, the manager at Southside Grocery in Charlotte. "A lot of people have asked me to do it, and I will."
Fran Preston of the N.C. Merchants Association said many of the Raleigh-based group's members opposed a lottery.
Their concerns ranged from lost sales of higher-margin products that will compete with lottery tickets to worries about how long it will take retailers to get paid for selling the tickets.
But, she said, "this is a fact of life now that the state has taken a firm position [on the lottery]."
She says she expects that those opposed to the lottery's creation will want to be involved in deciding who will sell tickets. If North Carolina follows the example of other states, there will be about one retailer for every 2,000 residents, making for about 4,000 retailers in North Carolina.
Jeff Lowrance, a spokesman for Salisbury-based Food Lion, says he expects they'll be available at his company's stores.
He added, however, that "if there is a community that is really opposed to [gambling], we'll take that into consideration."
N.C. retailers that end up selling tickets will compete for customers such as Betty Wilson, who drives several miles from her home in Charlotte to Fort Mill to buy tickets at Miller's Gas.
It's one of the dozens of convenience stores straddling the state line that now cater to North Carolinians looking for lottery tickets.
"I might come down here and play some, but I'll probably stick to North Carolina," Wilson said as she scratched off the numbers on one of her tickets. "It's a lot closer."
But don't expect lottery retailers in South Carolina, Virginia and other border states to give up on customers such as Wilson, who make up a significant portion of their lottery sales.