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Checking with lottery tickets

June 29, 2012 - Jodelle Greiner
I’m apologizing in advance to everyone who gets stuck in line behind me when I’m buying gas because I will be writing out a check from now on. The reason for this is I buy my lottery ticket when I get gas, so I’m not about to pay for my gas with my debit card, then fish out a dollar to pay for my lottery ticket.

Blame the lottery board, which has decreed that persons playing the lottery can not pay for the tickets with a credit card. According to, the website for the Wisconsin lottery, “You cannot use your credit card to purchase lottery tickets. By law, lottery tickets may only be purchased with cash.” I started hearing about this several years ago here in Minnesota, but apparently they’re making sure now it’s enforced.

The clerks have explained that because the debit card comes up in the register as a credit card, I can’t use my debit card to pay for the ticket. The ironic thing? You can pay for the lottery tickets with a check. What? So I can go old school and write a check, but not pay with a card that draws money from the same account? Can you say backwards?

To add to the irony, Minnesota has a lottery subscription online program, according to site. Did you know that? “There are a couple of guidelines that are related to lottery subscription online, for example the maximum amount that is permitted to play per week is $50 and no credit cards are allowed. All purchases are made via direct access to checking or savings account,” according to Presumably with a debit card.

Ready for more irony? On the website, there’s a whole section on the Illinois Lottery Visa Debit Card, which “is a card whereby prize winnings can be deposited onto your card and purchases can be made with the winnings at any establishment where Visa Debit cards are accepted.” The site also says “It is a Debit Card - not a credit card.”

So, you can pay with a check and even get your winnings put on a debit card, but you can’t pay for a lottery ticket with a debit card? Somebody wasn’t thinking when they set that up.


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