Mo. Lottery Bringing Play-at-the-Pump to Stations

Rollout starting with 15 locations, 150 dispensers this fall

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Motorists in Missouri will soon be able to purchase Powerball and Mega Millions lottery tickets at gasoline dispensers and ATMs around the state, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The new effort, intended to encourage more ticket sales, comes as the state budget has grown more reliant on the Missouri Lottery to fund public education, said the report.

The Lottery Commission plans to roll out play-at-the-pump sales at 15 gas stations across the state, on about 150 individual pumps, this fall. Motorists will automatically see the lottery option and be able to purchase electronic or receipt-printed tickets when they insert their debit cards to pay for fuel. Payouts less than $600 go directly to the winner's debit card.

Also as part of the lottery-boosting effort, 100 ATMs will be equipped to sell electronic tickets.

The ATMs all will be in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas; the locations of the gas stations have not been determined.

During a recent presentation on the new initiatives, the Lottery Commission made its goals clear. "Attract players that have never played lottery. Nonplayers become frequent players. Frequent players become regular in-store customers," the commission's summary reads, according to the newspaper.

"We have already gotten a lot of interest," Judy Gehrke, CFO for the Missouri Lottery, told the Post-Dispatch. Convenience stores will not be required to offer play at the pump, said the report.

Play-at-the-pump ticket sales have only been tried in Minnesota, so far, the report said.

Ed Van Petten, executive director of Minnesota State Lottery, said the program, which is on a scale similar to what Missouri has planned, is running smoothly since it began in November.

"The technology seems to be working very well," he told the paper. "It's not a ton of sales, but everything's working appropriately."

He said some c-stores had expressed concern initially, fearing people would not be as likely to come inside and make other purchases if they could buy lottery tickets at the pump. But the preliminary analysis of the program has shown the opposite.

"What we have seen is it appears to have increased foot traffic," Van Petten said.

It also has generated more interest in lottery games other than Powerball and Mega Millions.

"If customers want a scratch game or in-state game or something like that, it reminds them that they have to go inside to get it," Van Petten said.

Click here to read the full St. Louis Post-Dispatch story and to view an image of the play-the-pump device.