Play at the Pump program boosts North Carolina lottery sales

Customers at participating stations can play Powerball or Mega Millions while they fuel up their vehicle.   Contributed photo

Over the last few years, several states, including North Carolina, have incorporated technology at gas pumps to allow paying for lottery tickets.

The unique technology allows consumers to use their debit card when getting gas, choose their lottery numbers, and have their numbers printed on their receipt.

In North Carolina, 277 retail locations offer the service on 2,966 screens.

The monthly sales for the Play at the Pump program are up 24 percent from last June, with a total of $129,690, according to a fact sheet provided by N.C. Education Lottery. The program has totaled $3.55 million in sales since it began in 2015.

N.C. Education Lottery Director of Communications Van Denton said the lottery chose to start Play at the Pump to keep up with the ever-changing technology in the marketplace.

"We expect as customers ask for this service and retailers upgrade their gas pump technology that we’ll see steady growth," Denton said in an interview with North Carolina Business Daily. "Customers expect you to be where they want you to be."

Denton said he sees the Play at the Pump program as an investment in the future. 

"We know many lottery players will continue to buy tickets inside their favorite stores, but Play at the Pump makes it convenient for others to participate," Denton said. "By staying up with the times, we can attract new customers and build on our success raising money for a good cause."

There have been four individuals who won more than $600 when using Play at the Pump, including Carolina Cash 5 Jackpot winner Sean Watson, who won $227,196 in 2015. Three individuals won sums ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 in 2017 from the Mega Millions and Powerball games.

Linq3, which is based in Atlanta, provides the technology for Play at the Pump games. Linq3 gets a 7 percent sales commission and a $1 convenience fee from Play at the Pump sales. It shares its commission with retailers who sign up for the program.

With a debit card, individuals can choose one of three games at the pump and can pick five, 10 or 20 quick picks for the next available draw. Those who choose to play Powerball can choose three, five or 10 quick picks.

Individuals must verify their ages to play. There is also a limit on purchases of no more than $70 per debit card per week.

For those who Play at the Pump, small prices are distributed back to the account associated with the card that was used to buy the ticket. For prizes of more than $600, the winner must present their debit card to the lottery office to begin the claims process.

Currently, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, California, Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New Mexico have similar programs via Linq3.

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