Ohio Lottery to soon accept credit cards at self-service vending machines

CLEVELAND-- The Ohio Lottery will soon begin accepting cashless payments at its self-service vending machines as it moves toward accepting credit, debit and e-wallet payments for all lottery purchases.

Last week, technicians began retrofitting 6,000 self-service machines at retailers statewide. They will accept cash and non-cash payments beginning October 29, according to an Ohio Lottery spokesperson.

“It's a changing consumer trend. More and more consumers aren't carrying cash,” Ohio Lottery Communications Director Danielle Frizzi-Babb said. “It's really a way of adapting to consumer trends and the way that consumers are behaving.”

Currently, retailers can choose whether or not to accept credit or debit cards for behind-the-counter purchases.

Phase two of the lottery’s $1 million process next summer will involve the replacement of behind-the-counter terminals, so all lottery purchases at all retailers can be cashless.

The lottery will cover credit card transaction fees currently paid by retailers, according to Frizzi-Babb.

The Ohio Lottery said it plans to limit daily spending per card to $100.

“We've always taken responsible gambling seriously. We want to make sure our players are not spending outside of their means, and that they're only spending what they can spend, so we put that limit there to protect consumers and make sure they're not going over their limits,” Frizzi-Babb said. “We could never control cash. This we can control.”

Some lottery players said they appreciate the increased convenience.

However, with an estimated 170,000 gambling addicts in Ohio, experts worry the change could lead to problems.

“I definitely think it's a cause for concern that we should keep our eye on,” said Mike Buzzelli, gambling service coordinator for Recovery Resources, a mental health and addiction treatment agency in Cuyahoga County.

Buzzelli said gambling expansion through cashless purchases could turn more at-risk gamblers into gambling addicts.

“That at-risk population who may visit lottery retailers often may be going there more often because they have that availability and accessibility of using that card as opposed to cash,” Buzzelli said.

The Ohio Lottery said Ohio will be the first state to offer cashless payments at self-service vending machines.