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Arkansas lottery players now can buy tickets with debit cards

Apr 17, 2017, 11:26 am

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Arkansas LotteryArkansas Lottery: Arkansas lottery players now can buy tickets with debit cardsRating:

Starting this summer, retailers selling tickets for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery will be authorized to accept payment by debit cards, thanks to a new law that zipped through the Legislature in 23 days with little fanfare.

Since the lottery started selling tickets on Sept. 28, 2009, the law allowed only cash to be used in transactions. Now Arkansas will join most other state lotteries by allowing debit-card use.

Senate Bill 617 — sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado — is now Act 876 of 2017. The law will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns this year's regular session, which is now in recess and scheduled to end May 1. If the session ends on that date, the law will become effective in late July.

Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said the lottery doesn't have any projections on whether the new law will lead to increased ticket sales or an increase in retailers selling tickets.

Asked why the lottery doesn't have such estimates, Woosley said, "The short answer is we can't track purchases by whether they are made through a debit card.

"But moving to start accepting debit-card payments is as much about remaining relevant in an increasingly cashless economy as it is increasing sales. We think this move is needed to keep up with how people are buying items like lottery tickets," he said.

Act 876 will allow lottery retailers to choose to accept payment in cash as well as "noncash, noncredit methods of payment, including... debit cards or other electronic transfer of funds of the consumer to the retailer." Lottery retailers accepting those methods of payment will be responsible for any costs, fees or charge-backs that go with those transactions, under Act 876.

The law will bar lottery retailers from selling tickets with "in-store credit, credit cards, charge cards, checks or any form of deferred payment."

SB617 sailed through the Senate in a 23-6 vote on March 13 and the House in a 60-23 vote on March 29 in this year's regular session.

Two years ago, Rep. Chris Richey, D-Helena-West Helena, said he couldn't muster enough votes for his similar legislation in the House Rules Committee, where the bill died in the 2015 regular session.

The now-defunct Arkansas Lottery Commission shied away from asking the 2013 Legislature to authorize debit-card lottery purchases because its chairman, Ben Pickard of Searcy, said there was a lack of support among lawmakers and then-Gov. Mike Beebe.

In February 2012, Woosley raised the debit-card idea during his interview with the lottery commission before he was promoted from chief legal counsel to director. At that time, he pointed out that about three-fourths of the 44 state lotteries allowed debit-card ticket purchases.

Now lotteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico allow the use of debit cards, according to a list provided by Woosley. Arkansas will join the list this summer.

Among Arkansas' neighboring states with lotteries, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas allow debit cards for ticket purchases, while Oklahoma and Tennessee don't. Maryland, South Carolina and Wyoming are the other states that don't allow debit cards for ticket purchases.

Woosley said a combination of factors likely helped SB617 sail through the Legislature this year.

"We've been working on this issue for some time, and our staff has worked hard to help persuade members of the General Assembly that this was necessary," he said in a written statement.

"But also, our society is changing. People, especially young people, carry less cash and rely on debit cards for small purchases. With 40 other states' lotteries accepting debit cards, and as society becomes increasingly cash-less, it was just time to allow this."

Family Council President Council Jerry Cox, a lottery opponent, said, "This Legislature is more libertarian than previous legislatures," so he wasn't surprised that SB617 zipped through the Republican-dominated House and Senate.

He said lawmakers expanded gambling and access to alcohol and were reluctant to reshape Amendment 98 to the Arkansas Constitution, which is the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment approved by voters in November. But the Legislature also approved legislation that will restrict the use of the most common method of second-trimester abortions.

Cox said it also was difficult to argue against SB617 because most state lotteries already accept debit cards.

Also, "the governor's position on legislation loomed larger in the past session," Cox said.

In March, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he supported SB617 because allowing the use of debit cards and not credit cards on lottery purchases "is just an adjustment for today's economy, technology and lifestyle. Also, it is easier for the retailers to utilize that, so it makes sense."

The lottery has been under Hutchinson's control since February 2015, when he approved legislation abolishing the nine-member Arkansas Lottery Commission and putting the lottery under the Department of Finance and Administration.

Richey said Hutchinson's support and a recommendation by lottery consultant Camelot Global Service for debit-card ticket purchases helped clear the way for SB617 to zip through the Legislature.

"I was really surprised it came through the Senate so easy," Richey said.

Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, said, "It seemed like people got comfortable" with using debit cards to buy lottery tickets, although he worries a bit about players with debit cards having overdraft protection and creating a debt instrument.

"I thought it was a decent business decision for the lottery," he said.

John Skrimshire, vice president of commercial operations for Camelot Global Services, said in a March 3 memo to Woosley that research indicates that "the opportunity to pay for lottery using non-cash payment such as debit cards will increase engagement, particularly for those under the age of 55."

Allowing such purchases will lessen "the perceived stigma of lottery play by some consumers by allowing tickets to be purchased in the same way as most other consumer products," said Skrimshire, who is Camelot's point man in Arkansas.

Debit-card purchases "will further attract both infrequent and new players to the lottery category to the benefit of scholarships in Arkansas," Skrimshire wrote in his memo before Garner filed his bill March 6.

The lottery has helped fund more than 30,000 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships during each of the past seven fiscal years.

But some lawmakers are leery about debit-card purchases.

Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, voted "present" on SB617 because, he said, "At a basic level, since most bank accounts allow for overdrafts with substantial fees, I believe the use of debit cards will allow individuals to use what is essentially debt to play."

Since the Missouri Lottery started selling tickets in 1986, its retailers have had the option to allow ticket purchases using debit cards and credit cards and "we have no evidence that it's had any effect on retailer recruiting," said Susan Goedde, a spokesman for the Missouri Lottery.

She said an informal survey conducted by the Missouri Lottery a few years ago found about 61 percent of retailers accept both debit and credit cards and "we looked at their sales and saw they average about 12 percent higher."

Charles Spakes, president of the Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association, said some Arkansas lottery retailers will accept debit cards, while others decided against doing so.

"I think most of the people with competitors close by will move towards accepting debit. Especially in C-stores, it will affect them in big metropolitan stores," he said.

Kroger Co. spokesman Teresa Dickerson said, "Basically, it is a bit too early to tell" what the company will do.

"Kroger is always searching for avenues to provide convenience for our shoppers. At this time, we will continue to research the new option," Dickerson said.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. didn't respond to this newspaper's questions on the matter.

According to the lottery's website, 32 of the 109 ticket vending machines are at Wal-Mart stores and 29 are at Kroger stores.

Woosley said there are no plans at this time to change the vending machines to allow debit-card purchases.

Although the state hasn't monitored whether retailers adhere to current law on cash-only transactions, "if we learn that tickets have been sold using a debit card, we will inform the vendors of the law and remind them that sales are to be conducted on a cash-only basis," Woosley said.

In fiscal 2012, lottery revenue peaked at $473.6 million and net proceeds for scholarships reached $97.5 million, before falling for three consecutive years. With the help of a record Powerball run in January 2016, revenue rebounded in fiscal 2016 to $456.3 million and net proceeds hit $85.3 million.

Woosley has projected revenue at $463.4 million and net proceeds at $80.9 million in fiscal 2017, which ends June 30.

The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship is financed with lottery net proceeds plus $20 million a year in state general revenue. A lottery reserve fund of $20 million covers temporary cash shortages to cover scholarships and is later replenished with net proceeds.

The Department of Higher Education distributed $96.4 million for the scholarship program in fiscal 2016 and expects to distribute $87 million to $88 million in fiscal 2017 because of a change in eligibility and reduction in the size of the first-year award, said Tara Smith, deputy director at the department.

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12 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by Mayor McCheese.
Page 1 of 1
ressuccess's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg

United States
Member #93160
June 23, 2010
3141 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 17, 2017, 11:29 am - IP Logged

I didn't know this law goes into effect this summer.

I hope that one $2 ticket is the only one that matches all 5 numbers plus the PB to win the largest PB jackpot in United States history of over $2 Billion Dollars! I hope that one $2 ticket is the only one that matches all 5 numbers plus the Mega Ball to win the largest Mega Millions jackpot in United States history of over $2 Billion Dollars!

    Groppo's avatar - cat anm.gif

    United States
    Member #162626
    January 7, 2015
    778 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: April 17, 2017, 1:15 pm - IP Logged

    .

    I wonder if this is going to have any tax implications, for people of Arkansas,
    like the online thing, in some state(s), as I was clued in on, by another member here.

    Whereas, if you do sign up to purchase tickets online, OR by ccard, is the IRS or any part of the Fed Gov. going to keep tabs on you, from here on out, just for having purchasing them, that way? 

    I would expect it rather than not expect it.

    It's time to be paranoid:
    The Feds are looking.  They want their share. There is too much going on in the world, and our gov't is giong to get their money.  I wouldn't buy lotto tickets with ccards, OR get them on line.

    If you should win the big prize, well, that's it. 
    We'd all then expect the Feds to know.  But who cares, at that point?  (you'd be all set, anyway).

    It may be akin to an audit, even if you win $2 here and there.  You'd have to ask yourself

    "Are they keeping tabs on my minimal wins, through monitoring my ccard use?

    TO ALL LOTTO PLAYERS:

    Keep as low a profile as possible. 
    And thanks to the member who clued me in on the tax monitoring, a year or two ago.
    I have no problem with paying taxes that I owe. It's when I pay taxes, I have the big question:

    "I am I finally done now.?"    So, I pay for lotto in cash.

    • Don't chase the numbers you play.
    • Play only numbers you've already played, plus however many random picks.
    • But, ALWAYS the regular numbers you play.  This will make you a winner, not a chaser.
               (so far, though, I've yet to win any significant lotto prize)
    • Oh, but always know where your tickets are, as well as your ticket's deadline.
      Cassie8620's avatar - oGH0ok
      California
      United States
      Member #180566
      March 13, 2017
      3906 Posts
      Online
      Posted: April 17, 2017, 10:59 pm - IP Logged

      I'm not thrilled over this and i am no where near AK.,but i know my father saying who had a bro there who then moved east was saying, this is so not a great thing at all. So if this come where i am, i will continue utilizing good ole'cash.

      I won over 13G's!( Spring 2020 ) + total (2019) 22,000! Time 2 break the bank, baby! $ $ $ Banana                                                             

      0800 0068 0806 1027 1608 0620 0862 6800 8602 8620 1211 1215 1216 1236 1623 3193 3533 3009 3150 3159   

      1038 1236 3241 2579 1438 0476 1417 1671 1467  4773.5593.5635.5925.7159.9159.

      2464 2426 2446 3522 4764 6442 4949.4950.6231.7664 7678 8779 9203.9513.9152.9561.9899.

        Avatar
        Roslindale, MA
        United States
        Member #5377
        July 1, 2004
        141 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 18, 2017, 12:05 pm - IP Logged

        I'm not thrilled over this and i am no where near AK.,but i know my father saying who had a bro there who then moved east was saying, this is so not a great thing at all. So if this come where i am, i will continue utilizing good ole'cash.

        I Agree!  The only tiny plus I see to this might be if you are that bound and determined to keep spending money on tickets after running out of cash is that you'd save ATM fees (if there's one in the store) by using the card directly at the counter.  It's only a  minor plus because I do think it's a bad idea overall.

          Avatar
          Maryland
          United States
          Member #162429
          January 2, 2015
          2163 Posts
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          Posted: April 18, 2017, 9:04 pm - IP Logged

          Some of the convenient stores in Delaware would take debit cards, don't think they were suppose to.   

            weshar75's avatar - Lottery-042.jpg
            Mcminnville, Oregon
            United States
            Member #3013
            December 13, 2003
            4681 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 18, 2017, 11:29 pm - IP Logged

            I buy lotto tickets at circle k using debit cards because I do not want to carry cash around in case I get robbed.  Their are some people who go to circle k that look scary.  So I leave my money in the bank and use my debit card to buy my lotto tickets.-weshar75

            US Flag

              Gleno's avatar - Lottery-001.jpg
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #80352
              September 25, 2009
              723 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 19, 2017, 8:11 am - IP Logged

              4/19/17

              Think more progressive states will allow players to purchase lottery tickets with a debit card?

              What?

                Cassie8620's avatar - oGH0ok
                California
                United States
                Member #180566
                March 13, 2017
                3906 Posts
                Online
                Posted: April 23, 2017, 3:14 pm - IP Logged

                I Agree!  The only tiny plus I see to this might be if you are that bound and determined to keep spending money on tickets after running out of cash is that you'd save ATM fees (if there's one in the store) by using the card directly at the counter.  It's only a  minor plus because I do think it's a bad idea overall.

                Yea Noah. Definitely not a good idea at all. ITA

                I won over 13G's!( Spring 2020 ) + total (2019) 22,000! Time 2 break the bank, baby! $ $ $ Banana                                                             

                0800 0068 0806 1027 1608 0620 0862 6800 8602 8620 1211 1215 1216 1236 1623 3193 3533 3009 3150 3159   

                1038 1236 3241 2579 1438 0476 1417 1671 1467  4773.5593.5635.5925.7159.9159.

                2464 2426 2446 3522 4764 6442 4949.4950.6231.7664 7678 8779 9203.9513.9152.9561.9899.

                  hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

                  United States
                  Member #52343
                  May 21, 2007
                  3261 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 29, 2017, 6:10 pm - IP Logged

                  Type just bought a PB ticket 4 tonight and I saw the newest VA lotto machines

                  and they take debit and other cards ..... file under WTHF ??!!

                   

                  I'm with the few others I rather pay 4 my tickets with cash

                    Avatar

                    United States
                    Member #164719
                    March 12, 2015
                    1300 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 29, 2017, 6:13 pm - IP Logged

                    I see no problem with paying by debit.  The $ comes directly out of the acct.  Plus, you can always get cash back from the debit transaction and use that to pay for lottery tickets, so why not?


                      United States
                      Member #59352
                      March 13, 2008
                      5626 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: May 5, 2017, 3:43 pm - IP Logged

                      I have been paying for tickets using a debit card for years.  I even have a lottery bank account with it's own debit

                      card.  Debit cards are like cash.  I can go pick up my tickets and by the time I  return home the bank already list

                      the transaction.   I don't see any problem plus it keeps me from having to handle filthy cash.

                      RL

                      ....

                        Mayor McCheese's avatar - Lottery-063.jpg
                        Frisco TX
                        United States
                        Member #69142
                        January 5, 2009
                        605 Posts
                        Online
                        Posted: May 8, 2017, 9:50 am - IP Logged

                        Been using it for years. I hate carrying cash.

                        "Don't give up don't EVER give up."