John's Food Center customer Malik El-amin had the privilege Wednesday of being the first to buy a lottery ticket using a self-service vending machine in Kansas.
El-amin invested in a Powerball ticket at the Topeka store in conjunction with the Kansas Lottery's launch of a vending-machine pilot program with retail businesses selling traditional lottery tickets. The 2018 Kansas Legislature passed a bill authorizing usage of the devices and most U.S. states already have some form of automated distribution of lottery tickets.
"It was an exciting experience," El-amin said. "I like how simple it is you don’t have to wait in line to buy a ticket. It was awesome."
Kansas Lottery officials said four machines would be tested in Topeka at Gage Center Bowl, 4200 S.W. Huntoon Street; West Ridge Lanes, 1935 S.W. Westport Drive; Kansas Lottery headquarters, 128 N. Kansas Ave.; and at John's Food Center, 5812 S.W. Topeka Blvd.
Overall, the state lottery expects to install as many as 272 machines at retailers across the state. The authorizing legislation requires an estimated $8 million in profit from the machines to support mental health programs in Kansas, lottery officials said.
"We look forward to the opportunity of increasing our sales and our transfer to the state. We feel the machines will also provide easier access for our players to find their favorite games," said Stephen Durrell, acting executive director of the Kansas Lottery.