All you need is a dollar and a dream to play the Lottery, except if you're paying with MasterCard — then it's an extra 10 bucks.
The credit card company has quietly been treating subscription purchases of Lotto or Mega Millions tickets as cash advances — making them subject to an extra fee.
MasterCard is also charging higher cash advance level interest on the Lottery ticket purchases, as much as 24.9% percent in some cases.
That, too, is a no-no, Lottery officials said.
"They're breaking state law," said Jennifer Givner of the New York State Lottery. "It is illegal to charge additional fees beyond the price of a lottery ticket."
Givner said Lottery officials have alerted MasterCard, via an intermediary, and are "examining ways to fix this."
She said about 22,000 customers pay their Lotto subscriptions with credit cards.
"A number of our customers have already started using other forms of payment for their subscriptions," she said.
MasterCard passed the blame for the extra bucks to the banks that issued the cards.
"We don't have rules that prohibit issuers from charging a cash advance fee," a spokesman said. "Fees charged to cardholders are up to the individual issuer."
Several disgruntled MasterCard customers told the Daily News the firm's move was hardly priceless.
"They're collecting money off of people when they shouldn't be," said Christina Wilkinson, 37, of Ridgewood, Queens, who bought two yearlong subscriptions using her Chase MasterCard last month.
Wilkinson said there were two $10 service charge fees - and daily finance charges — that weren't there in 2009 when she made a similar purchase with her credit card.
When she called Chase MasterCard, they blamed the Lottery for the extra charge, Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson was eventually able to convince Chase to drop the $20 in service fees — but still had to pay the finance charges.
Tim Tango wasn't so lucky. He was socked with a $10 advance cash fee and interest charges for using his Chase MasterCard for a July 15 purchase of a yearlong Lotto subscription.
"They refused to help me," said Tango, 55, of Seatuket, L.I. "So I said, 'Cancel the card.' "
Tango, a Chase customer for 30 years, wound up having to pay off the complete balance with the added Lotto charges.
Yet another customer, who asked not be identified, provided a credit card statement which showed that Capital One MasterCard charged him the $10 fee for a $50 Lotto subscription — and an immediate $1.18 in interest on the combined amount.
MasterCard began treating Lottery ticket purchases as cash advances around June 1, when a new federal law aimed at cracking down on Internet gambling went into effect.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) has called for an investigation. "It seems to be a misinterpretation of federal law," Addabbo said.
Thanks to truesee for the tip.