▋Like chips and soda, now you can buy North Carolina scratch-off lottery tickets from vending machines.
The lottery began installing 500 machines statewide last week. The vending machines sell 24 games costing $1 to $10 each.
Many will go into supermarkets including Food Lion and Lowes Foods, said Alice Garland, lottery deputy executive director. Some will land in convenience stores with high ticket sales to free up clerks.
Vending machines are not new to state lotteries. Maryland has used them since 1998, while Virginia first installed machines in 1990. S.C. law bans lottery vending machines.
States try to prevent players under 18 from using the anonymity of the machines to illegally buy tickets.
N.C. machines will have a remote power switch so clerks can shut them down if underage players try to play, Garland said.
The state also “strongly recommends” that store owners place machines within sight of clerks, she said. Some states, including Maryland and Virginia, said they require stores to place the machines where workers can watch them.
North Carolina periodically tests stores in undercover operations to see if they sell tickets to underage players, Garland said. Inspectors found 202 violations for underage selling in 847 inspections since the lottery debuted a year ago, she said.
The vending machines do not sell tickets for other N.C. Education Lottery games, Pick 3, Carolina Cash 5, and Powerball.