How to Become a Lottery Retailer



How to Become a Lottery Retailer

Do you own a retail business? Sell lottery tickets to bring in more customers to your location. And increase your revenue.

In addition to the commission, you stand to earn on direct sales. Certain states, like Pennsylvania, even offer bonuses or percentages for retailers that sell winning tickets. In Michigan, licensed retailers brought in $5.2 million from Mega Millions commissions. And $264.9 million in total lottery earnings.

For many businesses, added income represents only part of the draw of becoming a licensed lottery retailer. Customers come in to buy lottery tickets. But they might also buy other items. And that means a chance for even higher profits. As a result, customers might even make your store a routine visit.

There are various types of lottery tickets you can offer, including those that are specific to your state, as well as multi-state games like Powerball or Mega Millions. If you’re interested in becoming a licensed retailer for any of these games, here are some of the things you need to know.



Determine If You’re a Good Candidate

Not every store is well suited to become a licensed lottery retailer. Before applying, consider whether or not your customers or potential customers are likely to appreciate the ability to buy lottery tickets on site. In most occasions, this type of purchase is well suited to businesses that offer impulse purchases and items of convenience, like gas stations and liquor stores. However, some grocery stores and even bars or restaurants have been able to benefit from offering certain types of lottery tickets or games.

You should also read through the requirements of your state. Some states require that businesses already be up and running before applying to sell lottery tickets. Other states, like Ohio, allow new retailers to apply. There may also be requirements that the owners of the business might meet. For example, criminal history or poor credit may disqualify some owners from participating.

Improve Your Facility

Many states have requirements for facilities that distribute lottery tickets. For example, you might be required to have security cameras on site or you may need to have all parts of your store accessible by wheelchair. In fact, unless your business is located in a historic building that is exempt, you should be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act regardless. But do some research on your state’s requirements and then make sure that your store is up to par before applying, in order to avoid wasting valuable time and money.

Determine What Games to Offer

There are several different types of lottery games you can offer, depending on your state. You may simply offer inexpensive scratch-off tickets. You might focus on high money games like Mega Millions. If you have a bar or area where people might spend extended periods of time, Keno could be a good fit. Research all of the options in your state so you know which applications you need to focus on. In some cases, your state might have a single application. In others, you might need to specify what games you want to offer right away. So it’s a good idea to know what you’d like to focus on before getting started. Or you could simply apply to offer a wide array of lottery products at your location.

Apply with Your Lottery of Choice

Each state has a different set of requirements for applying as a lottery retailer. However, most have online applications that allow you to get started fairly easily. You’ll likely have to pay a small fee and include some information about your business. The process may also include a credit check and/or background check. The online platform should walk you through what information is required in order to complete your application.

Follow Instructions from Your State

From there, a representative visits your location. They make sure you meet all of the site requirements. And tell you if you also need to take a class or attend a training session. They also make sure all of your customer facing employees get training too. First fill out the application. You should keep in touch with a lottery representative. They help to walk you through the rest of the process and the requirements. However, this may take months, depending on how complicated the application and checks are to complete.



After you complete all of those required steps, your state’s lottery representative should come to your location and install a machine or whatever equipment you need to get started selling. It’s in their best interest to make everything as easy as possible for you and your customers so you can make as many sales as possible and start earning money for your business and the state lottery organization.

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Annie Pilon


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

3 Reactions

  1. Or don’t. I still like my father’s opinion that the lottery is a tax on the mathematically challenged. Can you imagine the investment account someone could build if they put $5/week into a basic mutual fund through something like the RobinHood app? Then more people could benefit from the appreciation of the stock market.

    • Alex Yong

      I’ve been investing since 1997 (starting off with a high risk tolerance and gradually getting more risk-averse, esp. 22 years after I began) and I will partially agree re: investing; By that I mean, investing tends to work best when you begin early. Anyhoo. If machines are good for retailers, good. At the risk of digressing yet again, the big problem with lotteries is what’s known as the “rake” (TL;DR: government) “Rake” being the argot for what the states collect — with a big smile on their face while they’re doing it. The rake, as I understand it, does not go toward K-12 or any form of education, nor does the rake go toward any other pre-denoted coffers. I think states should expand lotteries and include many more coffers besides the school systems. To make this expansion fruitful they should also make games easier to win; I assume actuaries can help with that part.

  2. Aira Bongco

    It is all about making it interesting for your prospects while also ensuring that you are able to produce the prize pot. You also need good branding as well.

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