Oh, the irony… New York state lottery players have found themselves picking shrapnel out of their backsides and/or their eyes off the floor after getting a gander at their latest Mastercard statements. Seems that ever since June 1 — the date by which compliance with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was demanded by US federal agencies — every subscription to New York state lotteries has been treated by Mastercard not as a purchase, but as a cash advance.
This change not only exposes subscribers to immediate interest rates of up to 24.9%, it also comes with a $10 surcharge, which technically is illegal, given that one isn’t allowed to charge more than the face value of a lottery ticket in New York. Mastercard is blaming the banks that issue its cards, but state lottery folks are pointing out that Mastercard itself changed the code for lottery purchases from ‘government service’ to the category that encompasses dog and horse racing.
Of course, this is yet another reason why lottery players should chuck those state purveyors of three-million-card-monte and do their betting online with one of the big international gaming firms. Not only do you get much better odds, but the operators treat you with so much more respect.