By Mark Kelly

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The California Lottery wants to make it easier for you to buy tickets by making them available through a device all of us use.

Commercials for the California Lottery play quite a bit on our television screens. Soon, the lottery could be coming to yet another screen: the one at the gas pump.

“It would be entertaining. It would be fine to be able to buy them at the pump,” said Becky Remmel, a California resident.

“I would prefer not to have to deal with that. But if it’s going to go to that extreme, I would like to see some one-armed bandits and a chance to really gamble,” said Edward Shively, a California resident.

The idea is called “play at the pump.” The gas pump screen would ask if you want to buy a lottery ticket for Mega Millions, Powerball, and Super Lotto Plus games. Choose your game, swipe your ID to prove your age, and if you win less than $600 bucks, your winnings will go straight to your credit or debit card.

But is selling tickets at the pump too convenient for people addicted to gambling?

“We’re with you on that. We don’t want people to play more than they can. We want people to play within their budget, and that’s with all our games whether at the pump or in the store,” said Russ Lopez, a California Lottery spokesperson.

“I think the lottery is well-aware these addictions are out there and for them this is a win because it’s in your face,” said Shively.

But unlike a Vegas casino, state law mandates a percentage of lottery sales go straight toward public education. That often means more than a billion dollars toward the classroom every year. When state revenues are tight, for some, the lottery sounds like a good gamble to keep California’s finances in order.

“I think the lottery’s a great idea. Not a bad idea. It’s one extra way to make some money for the state,” said Julie Exley, a California resident.

You can’t play the lottery at the pump yet. First, the California Lottery must approve a pilot program. The first 100 test runs will be in Sacramento and Los Angeles.


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