Payment cards could play a role in making somebody, or a group of people, insanely wealthy tonight via the $1.6 billion Mega Millions drawing scheduled for 11 p.m. ET Tuesday night (Oct. 23). That’s because some states have loosened their restrictions on letting consumers buy lottery tickets.
According to reports, 32 states allow consumers to use at least some combination of credit, debit and gift card to buy tickets for that lottery. State rules vary, of course, and some states let retailers decide what payment methods to accept.
“Take Connecticut, for example,” reads an article from Heavy.com. “You can’t buy Mega Millions with a credit card, but you can use a debit card or a gift card. However, retailers are given discretion, and some can ban debit cards if they prefer.”
At least one state — Illinois — also allows consumers to buy Mega Millions lotto tickets online, along with using credit and debit cards to purchase a chance at a new life, and the drawing’s $904 million cash payout option.
The payment terminals at lottery counters were no doubt earning their keep on Tuesday afternoon. Reports emerged that before Friday’s drawing, for instance, “about 9,100 tickets were purchased a minute in Maryland in a two-hour window ahead of the drawing,” according to The Washington Post.
Lottery transactions are steadily moving away from cash-only affairs.
For instance, Ohio — which also accepts credit and debit for purchases of lotto tickets — recently launched what was described as the state's “first mobile-enabled lottery card.” In September of last year, the state began putting payment card readers in all self-service lotto machines. Those card readers now accept payments via Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.