Proposed Bill Would Let You Play the Lottery with a Debit Card in South Carolina

March 28, 2023 | Financial

Some like that it could make getting tickets easier. Others worry it could make losing money easier.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 25, 2023) — According to local media outlets a bill proposed in the South Carolina Senate to change how you can buy lottery tickets in South Carolina is leaving some excited and others worried.

Broadcasting & media production company WLTX News19 report the bill would let people buy lottery tickets with a debit card, instead of cash, which is currently required to play in South Carolina.

Horry County Senator Greg Hembree, who proposed the bill, says the current rule is just outdated.

“Thirty years ago, everyone carried around cash, Hembree said. “A debit card, you might’ve had one but you only used it to go to the ATM machine.”

While the South Carolina Education Lottery helps pay for scholarships, Hembree says he doesn’t think the state would see an increase in sales as a result of the change. He says it’s about convenience and saving money.

“Otherwise, they have to go to an ATM machine, and a lot of stores have ATM machines in them. So, they can go to the ATM machine, get the cash-out and then walk over 20 feet away, 10 feet away to the cashier and buy a lottery ticket. It’s inconvenient and it’s expensive because oftentimes those ATMs, they charge a high fee,” Hembree said.

Some people, including David Kearse, see this as a positive since cashless payments continue to grow in popularity.

“They’re already using debit cards everywhere now, so why not do that as well with the scratch-offs,” Kearse asked.

Alicia Fulton agrees but thinks there should be limits.

“I think if somebody has a gambling problem, maybe it would be best for them to put a lock on the card or something to where they could only do a certain number of transactions in a day,” Fulton said.

“I really don’t like it,” said Kristina Dumas, a cashier at the Corner Pantry on Garners Ferry Road.

Dumas says keeping the cash requirement would act as a barrier for those who might be prone to overspending. “‘Oh, well let me just spend my debit cards to play the lottery.’ Now your bills are not paid.”

Hembree says there isn’t a time or date set for when the bill will be heard by the education committee, but he is confident it will receive support.


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