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RALEIGH, N.C. – The North Carolina Education Lottery launched an online subscription service today for its Powerball, Mega Millions and Carolina Cash 5 jackpot games, according to a News & Observer report. Players must subscribe to a minimum of two weeks of drawings for one of the three games to use the new online service, and single-draw and scratch-off tickets are not available.
To play, subscribers must set up an account and electronic wallet to transfer funds on the lottery's Lucke-Zone website. Credit cards will not be permitted, but the service will accept debit cards in the future.
The subscription service is designed to attract new players, not take business away from brick-and-mortar retailers that receive 7 percent of each ticket sold, lottery officials told the news outlet.
"We believe that this will bring in new lottery players and it will be people who are comfortable buying things online, but that could be a 25-year-old or it could be a 65-year-old person," said lottery spokesman Van Denton.
Lottery Executive Director Alice Garland noted that the two-week requirement and $70 weekly maximum purchase will limit online purchases.
Still, some retailers are concerned about competition due to the prohibition against stores selling lottery tickets online.
People who use the new subscription service are still potential customers, stated Andy Ellen, president and general counsel of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. "So, those people aren't coming in and buying a Coke or a soft drink or chips or whatever it may be," Ellen said.
The subscription service is expected to increase lottery revenue by $3 million to $6 million per year, or 1 percent to 2 percent.