Lottery sales are going online in Georgia. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 3, 2012)
News 12 First at Five / Friday, Aug. 3, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Buying a lottery ticket at a gas station may soon become a thing of the past. Georgia lottery officials recently approved a way for you to buy your tickets online.
It's an addition that lottery player Denise Hines is excited about.
"Most of the time, I don't carry cash, so being online, especially if you could do it from your phone, I would like that," she said.
Starting in the fall, three options will be available for you to play online, including Mega Millions, Power Ball and Fantasy Five. Georgia Lottery plans to eventually have instant win tickets available online as well.
This big change has a lot of people wondering if the online sales will hurt sales at stores like Circle K.
Mike Hullum occasionally plays the lottery, and he says, "It'll probably decrease it, they'll probably stay home and do it."
Keisha Dunn is the assistant manager at Circle K on Wrightsboro Road, and she says, "I don't think it's going to affect the business at all, customers will still come in, they come in for more than lottery."
The Georgia Lottery is one of the first states in the country to approve online sales, but not everyone is so supportive.
The Georgia Family Council released this statement: "Georgia Family Council is disappointed with the Lottery Board’s decision to expand ticket sales to the online market. While we applaud the intentions of those who wish to support higher education in Georgia, we don’t believe the expansion of the lottery is the right way to go about it.
The lottery’s business model is inherently exploitative. According to research*, lottery players are disproportionately low-income minorities while those who typically benefit from the lottery are upper-middle class and white.
The fact that our state government runs the lottery and encourages gambling among those who can least afford it is contrary to the very purpose of government, which is to protect people, not to take advantage of them.”
Along with online sales, the Georgia Lottery also approved a pre-loadable debit card. Customers can use the card to buy lottery tickets, and it will be called the I-Hope card.
"A lot of times I'll go into a store and I'll forget to get cash, and I'll be like, 'Aw!' I can't play my numbers, I need to go to the ATM," Hines said.
Georgia lottery officials say the online sales could actually add more money to the HOPE scholarship.
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