Kansas retailers to feel impact of Oklahoma's lottery

Monday, October 3rd 2005, 10:31 am
By: News On 6

When Oklahoma lottery games are up and running, Oklahoman’s won't have to make a drive out of state anymore. That could have a big impact on stores just across the state line.

News on 6 anchor Craig Day went to Caney, Kansas and says at the Gunny Sack Number 3, about 99 percent of people who play the lottery are Oklahomans.

Tulsa lottery customer Virginia Davidson: "If I ever hit it, I'll hit it big." For many folks, driving north to buy tickets has become a tradition. Bartlesville lottery customer Carl Stewart: "We enjoy coming up, we usually stop down the road and eat. You know, make a day out of it."

But with Oklahoma lottery games on the horizon, sales in Kansas border stores are expected to drop. Store clerk Linda Warfield: "I hope they continue coming because we got to know a lot of them and we'll miss them."

Broken Arrow resident Ronald Peterson says he'll keep coming to Kansas even after Oklahoma gets the games. "They can do it there, but I like to drive up here. It's a relaxing drive to me to come up this way."

Though some folks vow to keep their Kansas lottery travel tradition going, state officials in Kansas are worried. They believe Oklahoma lottery sales could cost Kansas $10-million to $15-million in revenue. That could impact Caney, Kansas, where half of all customers play the lottery.

In fact, according to the Kansas lottery, the state's two highest selling retail outlets are here in Caney, Kansas, which is right on the Oklahoma-Kansas state line. As for the Gunny Sack Number 3, they'll hope loyal customers keep coming. Linda Warfield: "We still sell gas and pop and snacks and who knows. Maybe we'll put in a McDonald's or something."

It was evenly split among the people we talked to. Half of the Oklahomans say they'll buy tickets in Oklahoma. The other half say, because of tradition, they'll likely continue buying tickets in Caney, Kansas.

In the end, it may be gas prices that will have the biggest impact on where folks buy tickets.