New Mexico State Senate Approves Debit Card Purchases of Lottery Tickets
The bill allowing players to buy New Mexico lottery tickets with debit cards passed the state Senate last week by a vote of 25-16. The proposed law would give people more payment options when consumers buy their lottery tickets, which could bring in new players.
This bill was first introduced in February as a way to boost low ticket sales. It also aimed to allocate more money for the state’s scholarship fund, requiring part of net lottery revenues to be transferred to the scholarship. This amount would be no less than $40 million per year, which is what they are projecting to transfer in 2015. The current legislation requires 30% of the gross revenues to be transferred.
Senator John Arthur Smith proposed the bill after lottery sales plummeted in the state. Scratch off ticket sales fell from $86.6 million to $70 million between 2008 and 2014.
“We’re trying to re-establish market share by allowing a greater win percentage on scratchers and hopefully bring more money to the bottom-line,” Smith told the Associated Press.
In theory, the new $40 million transfer minimum may result in less money for the scholarship fund at first because transfers have averaged $42.2 million per year between 2010 an 2014. Smith’s report combats this potential negative by saying, “removing the 30 percent transfer requirement allows the (New Mexico Lottery) Authority to increase prize payout percentage and allocate more revenue toward other efforts to increase lottery sales. These efforts, over time, may enable the lottery to increase net revenue, thereby increasing the transfer to the lottery tuition fund.”
The bill now moves to the House for further approval.