Ohio launches credit card payments for lottery tickets – but is it a good thing?

  • From November 1 lottery players can pay by credit card
  • Spending will be limited to $100 a day per card to help avoid problem gambling

Lottery players throughout the state of Ohio have been noticing changes to the usual lottery-vending facilities this week. Credit card readers have been added to lotto ticket machines ahead of the launch of credit card lottery purchases.

WATCH: The Ohio Lottery updates its players on the new card payment set up.

The changes will come into effect from November 1 when Ohio becomes the first state in the US to make it possible for lottery players to use their credit cards to make lottery purchases and the state lottery organisation has been busy modifying 6,000 lotto machines in preparation for the changes.

But the potential for people to gamble in such a way on credit cards has raised questions.

Changing trends

The Ohio Lottery claims that it has introduced the changes to respond to what it describes as ‘changing trends’ including the fact that people are carrying less cash with them. The new option will only apply to Ohio scratch-off lottery tickets, so players wanting to take part in other lottery games, such as Mega Millions, will still have to pay with cash.

Speaking to WCPO Cincinnati at the weekend, some lottery players interviewed outside a local store said they would appreciate the convenience, but one player said that the changes would make it easier for problem gamblers to get deeper into debt: “If you are spending debt to buy lottery tickets, that’s probably not the best idea,” they said.

These concerns about the effect on problem gambling are likely to be shared by many in the state. Whereas previously many lottery players bought scratch-tickets with loose change, the ability to use a credit card will enable players to purchase tickets in larger amounts and to go into debt in the process.

To address these concerns, Ohio State Lottery has imposed a limit of $100 per day per credit card on scratch-ticket purchases, but even with this limit it will still be possible for problem gamblers to run up considerable debts playing the lottery and campaigners and gambling charities will be closely studying patterns of credit card lottery purchases over the next few weeks.

Opinion: Credit card betting – a good thing or a no-no?

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