North Dakota to Limit Lottery Sales on Credit

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North Dakota to Limit Lottery Sales on Credit

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota should forbid credit-card sales of lottery tickets, and merchants should have the discretion to decide whether to take gamblers' checks or debit cards, a lottery advisory board concluded.

The committee, which is made up of three state legislators and two former lawmakers, is helping write rules to implement North Dakota's entry into the Powerball lottery. State regulators hope to begin Powerball sales by April, according to The Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune. Its members voted to bar ticket sellers from allowing gamblers to use credit cards to play the lottery. Ticket buyers may use cash, checks or debit cards, which take money directly from a cardholder's bank account.

The rule will give merchants room to refuse a check or debit card from a player if they know he or she may be passing a bad check. Among North Dakota's neighboring states, South Dakota allows credit-card sales of lottery tickets, while Minnesota and Montana do not. "I think the fair way to go is to leave the credit cards off of it. The restriction kind of puts to rest some of the fears that people have had about credit-card debt," said state Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch (R-Mandan).

Powerball is played in 24 states. Four national lottery companies are preparing bids to operate the game in North Dakota, Keller said. Typically, the companies agree to install and operate lottery equipment, in exchange for a cut of each ticket sale. North Dakota's request for contract proposals asks the companies to supply at least 325 lottery terminals, and list the expense of adding more, in increments of 50 terminals each. They are scheduled to make presentations in late November.

Lottery tickets are most commonly sold in convenience stores and gas stations. Advisory board members said they have heard concerns from merchants that the lottery will be too stingy about placing terminals. State law gives Keller the sole authority to decide where the terminals will go. Kelsch said she had heard from a number of retailers that 325 terminals was not enough. "That is just not going to get the job done," she said.