If you show up at a convenience store hoping to buy a couple of lottery tickets, be prepared to be turned down if you only carry a credit card. Regardless of your credit card limit, it doesn’t carry any weight in the lottery world. But don’t be mad at the cashier. They are not rejecting your money for being difficult. In most states, the law prohibits the use of credit cards to purchase lottery tickets. Even if that cute cashier wanted to help out, it’s worth more than his job to do so. But why exactly is it illegal to use a credit card for lottery purchases? And why should you think twice about doing so, even if you live in one of the few states that doesn’t have an outright ban on the possibility? Find out as we explore the reasons why cash is king when it comes to lottery tickets.
The law and the lottery
We’ve all gotten so used to buying everything in plastic that most of us have given up cash almost entirely. But there are still some areas where credit cards are banned, the lottery being one. While most of us think it’s up to the discretion of individual stores to decide which payment methods they accept, the rules around the lottery are determined at the state level. According to usatoday.com, approximately two dozen US states currently prohibit the purchase of lottery tickets with credit cards. But the rules are by no means clear. Present your credit card in Washington, DC., And it will be politely declined regardless of which store you visit; They do the same in Indiana, and it’s up to the store if they accept it or not.
States that prohibit lottery purchases with credit cards
Currently, the following states do not allow you to use credit cards for lottery purchases or do not conduct lotteries within the state.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- Washington dc
- West Virginia
States that allow lottery purchases with a credit card
In contrast, the following states don’t have much of a say in whether you use a credit card, debit card, or cash for your lottery purchases:
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
However, even in those states that allow you, in theory at least, to buy with plastic, you may be turned down at the store. As thebalanceeveryday.com points out, certain states, while avoiding a total ban, will only allow you to use your credit card at certain retailers and under specific conditions. If you show up at Safeway in any of the states listed, for example, you’ll only get a lottery ticket if you have cash or a debit card (although that said, some stores have even gone one step further by banning debit cards as well) . Therefore, you will need to check each state’s lottery policies to be sure.
The explanation of the ban
If you’re struggling to understand why a state would be happy enough for you to buy a cash lottery ticket, but prohibit you from doing the same with a credit card, you’re not alone. But in fact, the explanation behind the ban is quite straightforward. Basically, the state is taking care of you. They don’t want you to run up debt with lottery tickets or to gamble with money you don’t have. A lottery ticket may not seem like the most expensive thing in the world, but add in the interest you’ll end up paying on your credit card bill if you don’t clear your balance at the end of the month, and it suddenly gets a lot more expensive. According to bankrate.com, those from lower-income households play the lottery significantly more than those from higher-income households. 28% of households with annual incomes less than $ 30,000 play the lottery at least once a week, while only 18% of households earning $ 75,000 or more do the same. Cash-strapped households spend an average of $ 412 per year on lottery tickets, almost 4 times the amount of those in the highest income bracket.
While people are free to do what they want with their money, the problems start when people spend money that is not technically theirs. People with low incomes and equally low credit scores could end up paying around …