Kansas USA has now voted to allow players to buy lottery tickets off vending machines. The state’s House of Representatives passed a bill to that effect this week granting approval to a proposal that Lottery authorities have been pushing for three years.
Lottery spokeswoman Sally Lunsford stated that the measure would help increase lottery revenue while reducing labor costs for lottery retailers. Under the system, buyers would be able to bypass store clerks and gain access to lottery tickets directly from these machines.
According to Lunsford, vending machines are being used in 37 states across the country including Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado. She said that vending machines have hiked lottery sales by up to 50 percent in other states.
Susan Goedde, communications manager with the Missouri Lottery stated that the installation of 300 new machines across the state in 2015 led to an increase of 11.8 percent in monthly sales. Kansas is hoping to bring in additional revenue of around $12 million in the next two years via lottery sales. The lottery has been growing steadily in the state over the last few years with 2016 seeing record sales of $78 million.
Revenue from machine sales is expected to be used for mental health services in community mental health centers. In a statement Stephanie Clayton, Overland Park Republican Rep. said,
We desperately need that. I’m vice chair of social services budget, and I can tell you first-hand how dire that situation is.
Existing lottery sales revenue is utilized towards various state requirements including economic development and prison construction. A lawmaker who voted against the bill Rep. Blake Carpenter said that while the additional revenue for mental health services was welcome, the bill did not do enough to prevent access to minors.
Lunsford countered the allegation by pointing out that the store clerks would be able to lock the machines via remotes if they see an underage customer trying to access it. Similar systems are enforced in Colorado and Missouri according to officials.
Carpenter however said that it would be difficult for the clerk to supervise the machines constantly adding that minors can easily ask an adult to redeem the ticket if they win, violating a rule within the new bill that bars minors from redeeming winning tickets. Opposition also came from Democratic Rep. John Carmichael of Wichita who also highlighted that the bill didn’t provide sufficient safeguards to minors, adding that he was opposed in general to state-sponsored gambling.