The Ohio Lottery has taken a tentative step towards the future by allowing customers to make draw ticket purchases via mobile devices.
Last week, the Ohio Lottery introduced its new mobile-enabled Lottery Card, which allows customers to place ticket orders for such draw games as Powerball and Mega Millions. The cards can be purchased at a number of the Lottery’s retail partners, including Buehler’s, Fresh Food, Giant Eagle and Kroger stores.
The cards are available in two denominations — $10 for five plays, or $20 for 10 plays, plus an 89¢ fee for Mobile Play Benefits. Customers text the cards’ unique codes to a specified number, confirm their identity, age and location, then can order draw tickets, the quick-pick numbers of which are confirmed by text and picture message. Winnings under $500 are paid instantly to a customer’s PayPal account.
The Lottery Card project, which comes courtesy of tech outfit Linq3 — one of the parties behind the Minnesota Lottery’s now-shuttered online sales channel — and fintech firm Blackhawk Network, marks the state’s initial effort to update their purchasing channels to appeal to a younger demographic, which traditionally view lottery tickets as a stodgy product better enjoyed by their grandparents.
The lottery is banking on the rising popularity of retail gift cards to help spur sales, as the theory is that people will be willing to offer the new Lottery Cards in lieu of a card for some non-gambling retail outlet. Linq3 and Blackhawk say their new system will be rolled out in other states later this year.
Ling3 and Blackhawk insist that the Lottery Card is “a major innovation,” yet as digital lottery efforts go, this one is pretty pedestrian, at least compared with the instant-win products offered online by lotteries in Kentucky, Georgia, Michigan and, most recently, Pennsylvania.
Other states like Illinois have approved only online draw ticket sales, while Minnesota has authorized Jackpocket’s “lottery service business,” which acts as a digital messenger that accepts orders online then purchases the tickets at a lottery retailer on behalf of the customer.