• Online lottery sales could hurt local businesses

    By: Torie Wells


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - People can subscribe from home on their computer to play Powerball, Mega Millions and Carolina Cash 5. The state says players have to subscribe for at least two weeks at a time.

    It is a feature Scott Parker told Eyewitness News that he probably won't use.

    "Come in the store, support your local stores," said Parker.

    But the store where he shops is still concerned.

    "If they buy it online, we lose a lot of customers," said Baneti Cerebo, an employee at Pop's Shop on Old Pineville Road.

    The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association says stores often times make money on things like snacks, drinks and newspapers, things people end up buying when they come in to get lottery tickets. It says some stores are concerned that if people stay home, they won't be coming in to buy those extra things.

    A spokesperson for the North Carolina Education Lottery says the system is aimed at people who aren't playing the lottery now. It says the state's most popular games and scratch-offs aren't included. And that North Carolina asked retailers in other states that have similar online subscriptions, like Virginia and Georgia, about sales.

    "They tell us they've not seen an impact," said Van Denton, communications director for the North Carolina Education Lottery.

    The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association told Eyewitness News that it hasn't seen data to support to deny that. But it said it has heard from stores in other states that are concerned.

    Denton told Eyewitness News that the state told us there are a number of safeguards in place.

    "This technology has already worked in other states to make sure that no minors are participating and to make sure people are who they say they are and it seems to be working well there," Denton said.

    The state estimates this new online feature will generate 1 percent of lottery sales or $3 million.

    To read the official press release from the N.C. Education Lottery, click here.

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