Yes, there's actually a mobile payment story in tonight's $550 million PowerBall drawing.
Denizens of the Twin Cities looking for a place to score a lottery ticket for the drawing will be able to buy a ticket using their mobile phones and an ATM or a gas pump (if they don't mind ignoring the prohibition on using a cellphone near a gas pump). Minnesota authorities have given the OK for a rollout of paperless lottery ticket sales at self-service locations.
KAAL-TV has reported that "Play at the Pump" was introduced yesterday at 27 ATMs and a dozen gas stations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. A wider rollout will follow.
Tickets for both Powerball and MegaMillions games are available for purchase (though today, nobody's giving MegaMillions much thought) at touchscreen self-service locations.
Ticket-buyers must produce an ATM card and PIN, a drivers license and a cellphone number in order to enter the lottery. They must also purchase at least three quick-pick tickets and pay a $1 service charge.
Quick-pick numbers are sent to the player via text message, as is the notification of a lottery win. Winnings of up to $599 are automatically deposited to the winner's bank account.
Tonight at exactly 9:59 p.m. CST, Minnesotans all over the Twin Cities will be fixated on their mobile screens, waiting for a one-in-175-million-chance SMS that says, "You've won $550 million." You betcha.
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