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California Lottery begins offering tickets at gas pumps

California LotteryCalifornia Lottery: California Lottery begins offering tickets at gas pumps
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Play at the Pump, the California Lottery's latest expansion of the lotto market, is both convenient and controversial.

Convenient because it allows credit card users to both fill up and buy up to $20 worth of Quick Picks without ever having to go inside.

At the same time, it's controversial because the offerings are a sharp change from the lottery's long standing cash-only rules aimed at cutting down on overspending by poor people and chronic gamblers.

The concerns are valid," said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Lottery. "But we've put controls in place (for the gas pump game) to make people skew to responsibility and security."

Lottery officials are being cautious with their expansion to credit card gaming. The gas pump game, for example, is available at only 87 stations in the state, Traverso said, most of them in the Sacramento and Los Angeles areas. Lottery tickets are sold at more than 21,000 locations in California.

Lottery tickets brought in $5.5 billion last year, including $1.3 billion for the schools.

"It's being used a lot," said Allen Enriquez, a clerk at a station in Campbell. "A lot of people don't know how to use it yet — but it looks like it is going to catch up."

At the pump, drivers insert their credit card and then their license to prove they are of legal gambling age. After making their picks and filling up, the lottery numbers show up on the receipt.

Expanding slowly

While the project, which began nearly a year ago, is past the test stage, "We're looking to expand slowly," he said. "Once we get to 100 stations, we'll take a look and decide what to do next."

Only stations with updated gas pumps that include a display screen can host the lottery function, and players must use a credit card or debit card and not a gas company card, Traverso said.

Under California Lottery rules, players can only spend up to $20 a day or $50 a week buying tickets at the gas pump. A player also is required to insert his driver's license or state ID card into the pump to verify his age.

There have been few complaints from either the early group of players or the gas station owners who have joined the program.

Lone Bay Area outlet

Sunny Oaks Valero, on South Winchester Boulevard at the San Tomas Expressway in Campbell, is the only Bay Area gas station now participating in Play at the Pump. The busy corner station has freestanding signs promoting the program, along with "How to Play" stickers on the pumps and placards about the games hooked to the hoses.

"It's being used and we're getting a lot of nice feedback," said Andre Wilson, the station's owner. "We've had it in for a couple of weeks and our customers like it."

Wilson wanted to be the first in the Bay Area with the program because he thought it would bring in more business. That seems to be happening.

"We get people coming by to play who aren't our regular customers," he said. "I've got no complaints."

Growing that customer base is key to the state lottery, which after dipping below $3 billion in sales in 2009, brought in a record $5.5 billion in the year that ended June 30 and sent about $1.3 billion to California schools.

New games, including a $30 scratcher ticket slated to debut this month, new programs like the gas pump games and new efforts to bring in more players are all important, Traverso said.

"We're in this to sell lottery tickets to benefit our state schools," he said.

But that puts California in the sometimes uncomfortable position of spending millions of dollars for advertising to persuade people to gamble.

"About two-thirds of Californians never or hardly ever play lottery games," said Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, a group opposed to state lotteries. "And about 80 percent of lottery revenue comes from about 10 percent of the players."

There's a reason the California Lottery promotes what it calls "responsible gaming" with a blizzard of ads, warnings and announcements. The California Council on Problem Gambling found that of the 4,000 people who called its hotline ( (800) 426-2537) in 2014, the lottery ranked third behind Indian casinos and card rooms as their primary gambling preference. But more than half those people listed the lottery as their second choice.

"The future of state lotteries depends on getting a whole new generation hooked," Bernal said. "You do that by getting lottery games on the Internet and letting people use credit cards."

That's not so far-fetched an assumption. Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, as a group are notorious for using credit or debit cards to buy everything from a lunchtime taco to a pack of gum.

Seeking younger players

A 2014 survey by the Independent Community Bankers of America found that 24 percent of Millennials carry less than $5 on a daily basis, bad news for a cash-only business like the state lottery.

"Lotteries and casinos are having trouble getting new players among younger people," said I. Nelson Rose, a professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa (Orange County) and an expert on gambling and the law.

California's Play at the Pump program "sounds much worse and more dangerous than it is," Rose added. "People now can go to an ATM in a convenience store and get cash to buy Lotto tickets. The state puts limits on credit card use and doesn't allow it for instant games, which is a good idea."

But with a generation of young and not-so-young people used to fast-paced online video games and convenient access to anything they want from their smartphones, it's a question of how long — or even whether — the California Lottery can hold the limits on credit card gambling.

"It's the power of incremental change," Rose said. "If you allow some games to use credit cards now, when it comes up next, how can you say no?"

Showing how it works

At the California State Fair in Sacramento last month, representatives for Linq3, which is partnering with the state for the technical side of Play at the Pump, were out in front of the California Lottery booth with a dummy gas pump, showing passersby how to play.

"You can play the Lotto at the gas pump now and maybe later at ATMs and any other device with a screen," one young woman in a company pullover said.

That's not going to happen in California, at least not quickly, Traverso said. While one of the reasons behind Play at the Pump was to provide "a nice little entry point" to get a new group of people playing the lottery, "we're not going to take the lead" when it comes to advancing gambling in California, he added.

A pair of bills designed to legalize online poker in California look to be dead for the year in the Legislature, and lottery officials are perfectly happy to let that part of the gaming industry take the heat for making it easier to gamble in the state.

"We're not busting down the door to legalize online gambling," Traverso said.

Play at the Pump

When a motorist inserts a credit or debit card at a gas pump, he can chose between "Gas only" and "Play Lotto" options. If Lotto is selected, the motorist may buy $5, $10 or $20 worth of Quick Pick tickets for any of the three main Lotto draw games: Powerball, Mega Millions and SuperLotto Plus.

The cost, along with a $1 service charge, is placed on the credit or debit card, and the gas pump prints out a receipt, including the Quick Pick numbers. Any winnings below $600 are paid directly into the card account, while larger jackpots can only be collected in person by providing Lottery officials with the credit card that was used at the gas pump.

Players also have the option of providing a telephone number that will allow Lottery officials to text the results of the drawing.

There's a limit of $20 per transaction at the gas pump and $50 total per week.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

KPIX, SF Chronicle, Lottery Post Staff

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33 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by lottolaughs.
Page 1 of 3
itpmguru's avatar - 42a4d4d8f2a4312fb8e253dd8f6ef251
No Man's Land
United States
Member #164139
February 19, 2015
5461 Posts
Offline
Posted: August 4, 2015, 11:02 am - IP Logged

Just another way for states to get more of our hard earned cash on a daily basis.  They are not interested in making themselves accountable for responsible gaming, otherwise, they would not try to shove it in our face so much. 

This equates to impulse buying, but now at the gas pump.  North Carolina is trying this as well and after posting another record quarter, why wouldn't they?  People talk about corporate greed, but state greed is starting to surpass corporate greed on an almost daily basis.  It is just sad, they never have enough (money) because they cannot be fiscally responsible with what money they do have and now they are trying to drag us into their "money gutter" even more.

It is time to say NO to big lotto!

I won't get mad......I won't get even and NCEL will pay my bills :-)  - ITP
"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." - Muhammad Ali
                                     


    Avatar
    Simpsonville
    United States
    Member #163189
    January 22, 2015
    675 Posts
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    Posted: August 4, 2015, 12:50 pm - IP Logged

    I can see the headlines now, skimmers put over the legit ones and criminals getting a wealth of information.  Credit card and license #'s galore.

      MaximumMillions's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg

      Germany
      Member #164603
      March 8, 2015
      612 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: August 4, 2015, 1:59 pm - IP Logged

      If this worked for tourists, too, they would get even more money dumped into their coffers.

        RedStang's avatar - tallman zps6gf4inoc.jpg
        NY
        United States
        Member #121961
        January 21, 2012
        3157 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: August 4, 2015, 2:28 pm - IP Logged

        I can see the headlines now, skimmers put over the legit ones and criminals getting a wealth of information.  Credit card and license #'s galore.

        Yup, and the the Egg Heads will be ripping them out with tow trucks.

          HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
          Idaho
          United States
          Member #94283
          July 17, 2010
          2284 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: August 4, 2015, 3:17 pm - IP Logged

          I predict a lot of winning tickets being inadvertently thrown away.  That ticket looks a whole like like a plain ole receipt in that photo.

            music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
            Happy California
            United States
            Member #157856
            August 2, 2014
            1520 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: August 4, 2015, 3:37 pm - IP Logged

             This cuts out the middle man, the gas station attendant .   At least for the three big games now.

             More freedom for us  - the people. Banana

             I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

             Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

              Saylorgirl's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg
              Indiana
              United States
              Member #129225
              June 13, 2012
              546 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: August 4, 2015, 4:09 pm - IP Logged

              I personally would never use this "convenience" I have no desire to scan my drivers licence into the gas pump and then to use a Debit Card to buy my lottery tickets.  Plus they charge you $1 for this service.  For a dollar I will walk the additional 50 ft. to go into the store!  In addition I really don't want the person in front of me at the pump to use it either it will slow it down while they put in their phone number punch in what tickets they want!!  I just want them to pump and go!

                Bondi Junction
                Australia
                Member #57242
                December 24, 2007
                1102 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: August 4, 2015, 5:37 pm - IP Logged

                Play at the Pump, the California Lottery's latest expansion of the lotto market, is both convenient and controversial.

                Convenient because it allows credit card users to both fill up and buy up to $20 worth of Quick Picks without ever having to go inside.

                At the same time, it's controversial because the offerings are a sharp change from the lottery's long standing cash-only rules aimed at cutting down on overspending by poor people and chronic gamblers.

                The concerns are valid," said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Lottery. "But we've put controls in place (for the gas pump game) to make people skew to responsibility and security."

                Lottery officials are being cautious with their expansion to credit card gaming. The gas pump game, for example, is available at only 87 stations in the state, Traverso said, most of them in the Sacramento and Los Angeles areas. Lottery tickets are sold at more than 21,000 locations in California.

                Lottery tickets brought in $5.5 billion last year, including $1.3 billion for the schools.

                "It's being used a lot," said Allen Enriquez, a clerk at a station in Campbell. "A lot of people don't know how to use it yet — but it looks like it is going to catch up."

                At the pump, drivers insert their credit card and then their license to prove they are of legal gambling age. After making their picks and filling up, the lottery numbers show up on the receipt.

                Expanding slowly

                While the project, which began nearly a year ago, is past the test stage, "We're looking to expand slowly," he said. "Once we get to 100 stations, we'll take a look and decide what to do next."

                Only stations with updated gas pumps that include a display screen can host the lottery function, and players must use a credit card or debit card and not a gas company card, Traverso said.

                Under California Lottery rules, players can only spend up to $20 a day or $50 a week buying tickets at the gas pump. A player also is required to insert his driver's license or state ID card into the pump to verify his age.

                There have been few complaints from either the early group of players or the gas station owners who have joined the program.

                Lone Bay Area outlet

                Sunny Oaks Valero, on South Winchester Boulevard at the San Tomas Expressway in Campbell, is the only Bay Area gas station now participating in Play at the Pump. The busy corner station has freestanding signs promoting the program, along with "How to Play" stickers on the pumps and placards about the games hooked to the hoses.

                "It's being used and we're getting a lot of nice feedback," said Andre Wilson, the station's owner. "We've had it in for a couple of weeks and our customers like it."

                Wilson wanted to be the first in the Bay Area with the program because he thought it would bring in more business. That seems to be happening.

                "We get people coming by to play who aren't our regular customers," he said. "I've got no complaints."

                Growing that customer base is key to the state lottery, which after dipping below $3 billion in sales in 2009, brought in a record $5.5 billion in the year that ended June 30 and sent about $1.3 billion to California schools.

                New games, including a $30 scratcher ticket slated to debut this month, new programs like the gas pump games and new efforts to bring in more players are all important, Traverso said.

                "We're in this to sell lottery tickets to benefit our state schools," he said.

                But that puts California in the sometimes uncomfortable position of spending millions of dollars for advertising to persuade people to gamble.

                "About two-thirds of Californians never or hardly ever play lottery games," said Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, a group opposed to state lotteries. "And about 80 percent of lottery revenue comes from about 10 percent of the players."

                There's a reason the California Lottery promotes what it calls "responsible gaming" with a blizzard of ads, warnings and announcements. The California Council on Problem Gambling found that of the 4,000 people who called its hotline ( (800) 426-2537) in 2014, the lottery ranked third behind Indian casinos and card rooms as their primary gambling preference. But more than half those people listed the lottery as their second choice.

                "The future of state lotteries depends on getting a whole new generation hooked," Bernal said. "You do that by getting lottery games on the Internet and letting people use credit cards."

                That's not so far-fetched an assumption. Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, as a group are notorious for using credit or debit cards to buy everything from a lunchtime taco to a pack of gum.

                Seeking younger players

                A 2014 survey by the Independent Community Bankers of America found that 24 percent of Millennials carry less than $5 on a daily basis, bad news for a cash-only business like the state lottery.

                "Lotteries and casinos are having trouble getting new players among younger people," said I. Nelson Rose, a professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa (Orange County) and an expert on gambling and the law.

                California's Play at the Pump program "sounds much worse and more dangerous than it is," Rose added. "People now can go to an ATM in a convenience store and get cash to buy Lotto tickets. The state puts limits on credit card use and doesn't allow it for instant games, which is a good idea."

                But with a generation of young and not-so-young people used to fast-paced online video games and convenient access to anything they want from their smartphones, it's a question of how long — or even whether — the California Lottery can hold the limits on credit card gambling.

                "It's the power of incremental change," Rose said. "If you allow some games to use credit cards now, when it comes up next, how can you say no?"

                Showing how it works

                At the California State Fair in Sacramento last month, representatives for Linq3, which is partnering with the state for the technical side of Play at the Pump, were out in front of the California Lottery booth with a dummy gas pump, showing passersby how to play.

                "You can play the Lotto at the gas pump now and maybe later at ATMs and any other device with a screen," one young woman in a company pullover said.

                That's not going to happen in California, at least not quickly, Traverso said. While one of the reasons behind Play at the Pump was to provide "a nice little entry point" to get a new group of people playing the lottery, "we're not going to take the lead" when it comes to advancing gambling in California, he added.

                A pair of bills designed to legalize online poker in California look to be dead for the year in the Legislature, and lottery officials are perfectly happy to let that part of the gaming industry take the heat for making it easier to gamble in the state.

                "We're not busting down the door to legalize online gambling," Traverso said.

                Play at the Pump

                When a motorist inserts a credit or debit card at a gas pump, he can chose between "Gas only" and "Play Lotto" options. If Lotto is selected, the motorist may buy $5, $10 or $20 worth of Quick Pick tickets for any of the three main Lotto draw games: Powerball, Mega Millions and SuperLotto Plus.

                The cost, along with a $1 service charge, is placed on the credit or debit card, and the gas pump prints out a receipt, including the Quick Pick numbers. Any winnings below $600 are paid directly into the card account, while larger jackpots can only be collected in person by providing Lottery officials with the credit card that was used at the gas pump.

                Players also have the option of providing a telephone number that will allow Lottery officials to text the results of the drawing.

                There's a limit of $20 per transaction at the gas pump and $50 total per week.

                News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                The California Lottery should also reintroduce a subscription service, it had a subscription service in the past. It would raise additional revenue for the state and be very convenient for players.

                We all get a lot out of lotteries!

                  mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
                  JACKPOT HUNTER

                  United States
                  Member #141034
                  April 2, 2013
                  1408 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: August 4, 2015, 5:47 pm - IP Logged

                  I predict a lot of winning tickets being inadvertently thrown away.  That ticket looks a whole like like a plain ole receipt in that photo.

                  I Agree! Looks more like an ordinary receipt than a lotto ticket.

                  Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

                  Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

                    zinniagirl's avatar - flower avatar_0026.jpg
                    nc
                    United States
                    Member #99520
                    October 26, 2010
                    375 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: August 4, 2015, 6:36 pm - IP Logged

                    F it is the same play at the pump as NC, it wont work most of the time!  Have tried twice now and down everytime for dys.

                      Gleno's avatar - Lottery-001.jpg
                      New Jersey
                      United States
                      Member #80354
                      September 25, 2009
                      705 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: August 4, 2015, 6:44 pm - IP Logged

                      Buying with a credit card does not sound like a wise idea from the consumer's point of view,

                      when and if you don't pay the entire amount of the credit card bill,

                      you will be paying interest on the monthly balance.

                      What?

                        zinniagirl's avatar - flower avatar_0026.jpg
                        nc
                        United States
                        Member #99520
                        October 26, 2010
                        375 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: August 4, 2015, 6:48 pm - IP Logged

                        Buying with a credit card does not sound like a wise idea from the consumer's point of view,

                        when and if you don't pay the entire amount of the credit card bill,

                        you will be paying interest on the monthly balance.

                        What?

                        FYI, you can only purchase with debit only....

                          hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

                          United States
                          Member #52345
                          May 21, 2007
                          2659 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: August 4, 2015, 6:52 pm - IP Logged

                          I predict a lot of winning tickets being inadvertently thrown away.  That ticket looks a whole like like a plain ole receipt in that photo.

                          I Agree!

                            HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
                            Idaho
                            United States
                            Member #94283
                            July 17, 2010
                            2284 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: August 4, 2015, 6:53 pm - IP Logged

                            Buying with a credit card does not sound like a wise idea from the consumer's point of view,

                            when and if you don't pay the entire amount of the credit card bill,

                            you will be paying interest on the monthly balance.

                            What?

                            Yeah it would be dumb to charge what you can't pay for at the end of the month and paying extra for losing tickets.  But I use mine for lottery because I can usually find a store that accepts credit cards for lottery in a category that gives 5% back.  It's usually a grocery store but for this quarter I get 5% at gas stations.  Even on off months I get 1% back which isn't much but better than nothing.

                            But I don't have a gambling problem nor an overspending problem.  I haven't left a balance on a CC in decades.

                            I'm not sure accepting CC for lottery would make any difference tho.  Consumers can go to the ATM and get $300 a day, a lot more than the lottery machines are allowing to be put on a CC.  Then whatever they were gonna spend that ATM cash on, they can put on a credit card.  There's always a way to overspend if a person wants to.