No Powerball jackpot for Oklahoma retailers

Monday, February 20th 2006, 11:15 am
By: News On 6

Still no word on who won Saturday's record Powerball jackpot. The $365-million win is the nation's biggest lotto prize ever. The Nebraska store that sold the ticket will be cashing in as well, not as much as the owners thought, but still $50,000.

As News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin explains if it happened in Oklahoma, the retailer wouldn't get a dime.

Retailer Wanda Batman is among those paying close attention to a small store in Lincoln, Nebraska. Hoping to see the Powerball winner walk in and sharing the joy of the owners on their $50,000 bonus. As a lotto ticket seller, she wouldn't mind seeing a jackpot in her own store. "We had a lot of customers coming here specifically to buy their tickets from me, because they thought if they won, that we would get a certain percentage."

But they and Batman were wrong. In fact if she sells a big winner, the store doesn't get anything. "We were really, really surprised to find that out."

A call to the Oklahoma Lottery Commission eased her concerns, in Oklahoma retailers get less than 1 percent of up to a $600 winning ticket. But retailers do get 6 percent of the ticket sales up front.

Batman says she'd rather have that guaranteed profit, than have to hope for a jackpot. "It would be great if somebody won the big ticket and you got the money, but the odds are pretty slim."

But do Oklahoma retailers really get a better deal? In Colorado, retailers get 7 percent of ticket sales and one percent of small winners. In Idaho, it's 5-percent of ticket sales and 10-percent of a jackpot, up to $50,000. And in South Carolina, retailers get both 7-percent of ticket sales and a jackpot bonus. "I very much hope the customer who buys the winning ticket buys it here, even if I don't get money for it. Like I said, we'll close the store and celebrate and we'll be the lucky store."

If the Nebraska winner choses the cash option, he or she will walk away with about $125-million after taxes.