Oklahoma Lottery commissioners have increased the financial incentive for store owners to sell scratch-off tickets, even before the games have begun.
Commissioners decided Tuesday to give stores three-quarters of 1 percent of the value of each winning ticket cashed. They were already slated to receive 6 percent of ticket sales revenue.
The scratch-off game is scheduled to begin next month.
Under the new incentive, a store that sells $1,000 in tickets in a week and cashes winning tickets worth $500 would make $63.75. Before Tuesday's vote by Lottery Commission trustees, that store would have made $60.
"I think it will be the incentive we need to reach the sales target," said Tom Riley Jr., a Lottery Commission trustee.
Jim Scroggins, the lottery's executive director, hopes the extra amount will encourage more stores not only to sign up as ticket sellers, but also as ticket cashers.
"It's important for the retailer, the customer and for us. Everybody wins in that deal," he said.
Scroggins figures the incentive will cost less than $500,000 per year and will be worth every penny.
"It saves us a lot of money if they (retailers) do it, because if a winner has to drive to our office to cash a $5 ticket, not only do we have to validate it, we have to write a check," he said.
By comparison, North Carolina pays retailers 7 percent to sell tickets and 1 percent to cash them. Missouri's rates are 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively, Scroggins said.
State law requires any winning ticket more than $600 be cashed by the Lottery Commission and not by a store.
Scroggins told his oversight board that "several hundred" stores have been approved to sell tickets. After the meeting, he said he didn't have a more precise number.
Scroggins hopes to have at least 1,000 terminals installed by Oct. 12 and 3,500 eventually.