Play at the Pump Expands in North Carolina

At Family Fare, Murphy USA/Express, Quality Mart and Quality Plus locations, customers can play the lottery while filling up.
October 23, 2017

FORYSTH COUNTY, N.C. – Motorists in Forsyth and Guilford counties can now play the lottery while refueling their vehicles with Play at the Pump from the N.C. Education Lottery, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. The three draw games—Carolina Cash 5, Mega Millions and Powerball—are available at Family Fare, Murphy USA/Express, Quality Mart and Quality Plus locations in those counties.

“We chose to start Play at the Pump because, like anyone in retail sales today, you need to stay on top of changes in technology to stay relevant in the marketplace,” according to the lottery. “Customers expect you to be where they want you to be. This is an investment in the future.”

Players must use a debit card to play and have to be 18 years old or older. If the player wins less than $600, the money is transferred to the debit card used to buy the tickets. For wins of more than $600, the player has to collect a check from a lottery office.

Play at the Pump started in January 2015 as a pilot program, and has slowly increased the number of gas stations offering the option. As of September 30, 271 convenience stores in North Carolina—around 4.3% of N.C. convenience retailers—offered lottery tickets while fueling up. The lottery indicated that Play at the Pump garnered average monthly sales of $102,155, bringing $2.37 million total since it started. Average lottery ticket sales generated $6.6 million each day in fiscal 2016-17, reaching $2.4 billion for that 12-month period.

“The average retailer makes as much—a nickel—on a lottery play as they do off a gallon of gas,” Jeff Lenard, NACS spokesman, said. “Getting you in the store gives them a chance to sell you something with a larger profit margin, typically around 12 cents. But, many would-be lottery players may be turned off by long lines to play the lottery in the store, and non-lottery players may get tired of waiting to pay for their cup of coffee for lottery players to be serviced.”

California, New York, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New Mexico also offer some sort of lottery ticket purchase at the pump. Georgia will start selling lottery tickets at the pump next month.