Buying your lottery tickets with a credit card?

Although consumers are seemingly able to charge an ever-increasing number of items to their plastic, there are certain purchases that may not be available with a credit card. Depending on what state you live in, a lottery ticket may be among the purchases you cannot make with credit cards.

In some states, including Texas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the sale of lottery tickets on a credit card is specifically prohibited by law. As with online or casino gambling, the concern seems to be that consumers who buy lotto tickets on credit could wager more than they can afford to spend.

For states that do allow lottery tickets to be purchased with a credit card, retailers pay interchange fees on these lotto transactions as they do when any item is paid for on credit.

For example, in a February 2007 report from the New York Association of Convenience Stores, retailers noted that a portion of the lottery commission earned on lotto ticket sales is reduced by the processing fees they are charged by Visa and MasterCard when a customer pays with a credit card.

In cases where states prohibit credit cards for lottery ticket purchases, debit cards may be used. Since a debit card functions in a similar way to a check or cash, retailers may be willing to accept them for lotto ticket purchases.

However, since debit cards and credit cards often look very similar, certain lotto retailers may decide that would rather not accept plastic in any form in order to avoid any problems.

Even if your state does allow the use of credit cards for lottery ticket purchases, that doesn't mean problems never arise. For example, consider the case of an Oregon woman who bought a $1 million dollar winning lottery ticket in 2005 using the credit card of a deceased woman.

Consumers that want to buy their lottery tickets with a credit card will need to check the laws of their state along with any prohibitions listed in their cardholder agreements.  

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Updated: 11-17-2017