Local News

State lottery? There's an app for that

Posted May 24, 2010 6:05 p.m. EDT
Updated May 24, 2010 7:16 p.m. EDT

— A Cary businessman has created software that would allow people to play lottery games from Powerball to scratch-offs on their smart phones.

Brent Wilkins, founder and chief executive of Mobile Lottery, said allowing people to play the lottery on wireless devices is the next logical step for the state-run games. He said the move could boost lottery ticket sales by more than $100 million a year in North Carolina alone.

"You're taking the lottery to the palm of your hands," Wilkins said. "This is a way that you can migrate a younger generation to gaming and control it effectively."

Players could purchase their lottery tickets electronically and receive an e-mail or text message confirmation. The switch would reduce the amount of paper trash the lottery now produces, he said, and sales to devices could be capped to limit addicted players.

The North Carolina Education Lottery hasn't considered mobile games, spokeswoman Alice Garland said. She also questioned whether federal gaming laws would allow it.

Wilkins noted that some European and Asian countries already have mobile gaming, and states like Illinois, Iowa and New York are considering the idea.

Some lottery retailers are wary about competition from wireless sales.

"I don't like that – them competing against us retailers (and) taking sales directly way from us," said Warren Liles, who makes 7 cents for every $1 he sells in lottery tickets at his Raleigh Citgo gas station.

Wilkins said retailers could share in the profits of mobile ticket sales.