A new way to buy lottery tickets at California gas stations is fueling controversy. Critics say it's pumping up sales at the expense of buyers who can afford it the least, CBS News' John Blackstone reports.
For California lottery officials, convenience stores apparently aren't quite convenient enough for purchasing lottery tickets.
"Gas stations are one of our key retail locations. So if we're seeing that many people who aren't going into the store, we need to find a way to try and put our products in front of those people," California lottery spokesperson Alex Traverso said.
The state has now joined North Carolina, Minnesota and Missouri as the only states offering "self-serve" lottery tickets. Almost 90 stations in California are now selling lottery tickets at the pump, and dozens more are waiting for state approval.
All you do is swipe your driver's license and your credit or debit card.
It's that "why not" factor and the added convenience that concern Bert Klasey. His documentary film "Out Of Luck" argues that state lotteries prey on vulnerable dream-seekers.
"The people who are actually buying the tickets and the people who are making up the majority of lottery revenue are people who are poor, people who are undereducated and people who are addicted," Klasey said.
He said it's dangerous that those people can purchase a ticket with plastic.
"The fact that you can gamble on a credit card is a really scary proposition," he said.
Lottery officials say they're doing their part to make sure gas pump ticket-buyers play responsibly.
"It's capped at $20 a day and $50 a week, so we feel comfortable with those levels and feel like that's a responsible amount," Traverso said.
There could be one obstacle to this plan. It's certainly convenient to buy a lottery ticket at the pump, but for California drivers paying close to $4 a gallon, it's hard to feel lucky when you're at the pump.