Debit cards will soon be used to buy lottery tickets, but not everywhere

Some businesses not planning on accepting debit cards for lottery purchases

LITTLE ROCK – Lottery ticket players will soon be able to use their debit cards to purchase tickets starting August 1, but not every retailer will have the option available to customers.

Some small business’ fear the transaction fees will outweigh the benefits of selling the tickets.

"I think that's a good idea for most people. It'll boost the lottery, get earnings up a little more and maybe give people more chances to win," lottery player Cornelius Smith said.

David Hall is an owner and manager of K Hall & Sons Produce in Little Rock. He said his store would most likely lose money if it made the switch.

"With the fee's that are associated with the debit card, the transaction fees and so forth, it's just not beneficial," Smith said.

Lottery retailers are paid a base commission of five percent on scratch off tickets and draw games like the Powerball and the Mega Million.

"So, on a dollar ticket, that's a nickel. So on a transaction fee, if someone buys a dollar ticket, and it is more than a nickel, we would actually lose money unless it's a large transaction," Smith said.

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said not every business has to adopt the new law.

“This law is not mandatory, it allows retailers discretion on whether to accept debit cards for lottery purchases,” Woosley said. “This gives our players more convenience, and our retailers more options.”

Hall said small businesses like his do not really make much off lottery tickets in the first place.

“It’s just something we have for a conveyance to some of the customers that want it," he said.

Bishop said he estimates about 50 percent of businesses will have the debit card system up and running August 1. Credit cards and checks are still prohibited to buy a lottery ticket.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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