CHARLOTTE, NC- If you have plastic, you can soon play the lottery online in North Carolina.
In November, the North Carolina Education Lottery will join 11 other states offering subscription-based virtual jackpot games – including Powerball, Mega Millions and Carolina Cash 5.
Lots of local small business owners are not happy with the decision – worried they could lose business if lottery players subscribe and play online.
“If they’re able to do this at home, I don’t think they’ll come to my small convenience store. That will hurt a lot of businesses just like us,” said Ray Elzieny, owner of the Quick Mart on Central Avenue.
10’s of thousands of dollars in winnings have been sold at Elzieny’s store. The best part for Elzieny is seven percent of the lottery sales stay in the store.
“The big people make decisions in offices and they don’t know what we’re going through just to survive through all this competition that we have. All these big stores.”
Experts say virtual play opens the door for more gambling addiction.
Counselor and addiction specialist Michael Howard with the Healing Solutions Counseling Center says allowing players to use plastic to pay is dangerous.
“The dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain are saying wow, this feels really good. I want more, I want more,” said Howard.
Howard is worried people will play online to try and cope with other issues.
“200 dollars last month isn’t having the same effect now so I’m going to buy 300 or 400 dollars, and it just keeps increasing over time,” said Howard.
Lottery officials say player’s ages and identities will be verified to ensure they are at least 18 years old before tickets are sold.
Players will have to buy at least two weeks of drawings in advance. Winnings under 600 bucks will automatically transfer to the players’ account and bigger prizes have to be claimed at lottery offices.