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Lotto Loophole Allows Ticket Purchases With EBT Cards

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - All it takes is a dollar and a dream.

But, even if you're technically broke, we've learned you can still cash in on the Mega Millions mania with your state-funded EBT card.

"I didn't know you could do that," said one lottery hopeful.

Apparently neither did the Lottery Commission, which told CBS13 "no" when we asked.

But the state Department of Social Services, which oversees the welfare program, says yes. So, why the confusion?

"It's clear there's no clarity here regarding the rules about whether EBT cards can be used to buy lottery tickets," said Jon Coupal of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Social Services says while they don't encourage it, the card acts like a debit card and can be used for cash purposes like buying the Lotto, as long as the retailer accepts it.

There's also confusion at convenience stores. We called 10 stores around Sacramento and asked if they allowed EBT cards to buy lottery tickets. Three stores told us no; two stores said only if the customer chose the cash back option, while five stores said yes, you can buy a lotto ticket with a swipe of an EBT card.

"I think it definitely should be used with your hard earned cash. It is, in a sense, gambling. So, I feel that you should work for it," said Coupal.

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