Hide Your Credit Card, You Won’t Buy the Lottery Tickets with It!
The joys of internet shopping! And by joys we mean sitting home in your pajamas and buying lottery tickets with a credit card (trust us; we know just how good it feels). Nothing beats the simplicity and convenience of making such purchases from the comfort of your own home.
Before getting too excited, however, we may have some bad news for you. If you’re in the US and trying to pay for a lottery ticket with a credit card issued by a local bank, you may run into some problems. Here’s why.
It’s All about the Law
Each state has its specific regulations about the purchase of lottery tickets. Currently, lotteries are run in 44 states and the District of Columbia. People living in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are also among the lucky individuals that can become richer by simply buying a piece of paper that features a few numbers.
Each jurisdiction has the authority to issue its own regulations when it comes to lotteries. Though there are some US lotteries that are considered national (PowerBall and Mega Millions, for example), there are still differences from state to state. In addition, there are still a few places in the country where tickets even for these big lotteries cannot be bought.
The places where lottery tickets still cannot be purchased (legally) are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah.
The very same regulations that determine which lotteries are available in the state and whether residents can buy tickets at all are also effective in terms of setting limits to the payment options. Credit card payments are quite often restricted by state regulations. In some instances, the banks that issue the credit cards can also impose some limits on what these payment tools can be used for.
The official PowerBall website suggests that 42 of the states where lottery ticket sales are legal forbid the online purchase of PowerBall tickets. Thus, you can’t find a payment option on the official websites of state lottery operators. Such transactions are available solely in Georgia and Illinois. The only restriction is that buyers have to be within the state’s boundaries when making the online ticket purchase. Yep, it’s as complicated and tricky as it sounds.
Why on earth would any law maker come up with such convoluted prerequisites for the purchase of something as simple as a lottery ticket? There are several reasons why states impose such restrictions.
According to state regulators, making the purchase of lottery tickets more challenging is in favor of individuals that suffer from gambling addictions and compulsive lottery ticket buying. Having an option to use a credit card and shop at home can easily contribute to significant financial issues for such individuals.
“If you don’t have enough cash to buy a lottery ticket, you shouldn’t be paying with a credit card.”
The statement comes from the National Foundation for Credit Card Counseling spokesperson Bruce McClary. It sums up effectively the reason behind the limitation. This is also the reason why some states enable purchases made with a debit card but they still have serious limitations when it comes to credit card lottery shopping.
It’s still debatable whether such measures produce the desired outcome. They do make it a bit more difficult for individuals suffering from a gambling addiction to get their hands on cash, yet such people will find a way. It seems that the severe restrictions have a general punishing effect on the majority of lottery ticket buyers while delivering mediocre effectiveness in terms of financial control.
So, What’s the Alternative?
In essence, the State Lottery Act prohibits the purchase of lottery tickets with a credit card (apart from the territories already mentioned earlier in the article). The same applies to Food Stamps. At their discretion, some retailers may accept debit card and check payments for lottery tickets.
So, what does it take to get an easier and more convenient access to the coveted lottery tickets?
There are a few options and some of those are state-specific. People living in California and a few other states, for example, can rely on an app called LottoGopher. LottoGopher works pretty much like the overwhelming majority of online lottery agents. There’s a company rep that’s responsible for purchasing tickets on behalf of the clients in accordance with local state regulations. The website accepts both credit and debit card payments (it’s still important to remember there could be some credit card limitations imposed by the bank that issued the credit card).
A number of online lottery agents are based in Cyprus and other countries outside the US. Such services are also providing an opportunity for US citizens go around the regulations. Needless to say, when choosing such services, it’s very important to check their legality and safety. Go through online reviews and make sure that both your personal and your financial data will be protected before making a purchase.
And here’s a final word of advice – be responsible when it comes to lottery ticket purchases. State regulations may be far-fetched, but the premise behind the regulations is valid. Online ticket buying opportunities can make you eager to experiment with many lotteries and take the expenditure a step too far. Dedicate a budget to the purchase of lottery tickets, don’t exceed the sum and you’ll be happy with such opportunities.