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Some Oklahoma lottery retailers struggle with last-minute details

Oct 12, 2005, 9:10 am

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Oklahoma Lottery

Some Oklahoma retailers planning to sell the state's new lottery tickets today spent Tuesday wondering if that would come to pass.

Steve Nafus, of Buck's Party Shop in Enid, said he was concerned about the system when he did not have his tickets Tuesday morning.

However, his fears evaporated in the afternoon, when the tickets arrived.

"We were told UPS would deliver them yesterday, but they did come today," he said." Other retailers are probably getting theirs, too."

After the tickets showed up, he and his wife, Merry, and their staff were figuring out how the system works.

"There should be information telling us how to sign on to the lottery machines that were delivered last week," he said. "We are crossing our fingers about the final details to get set up to sell scratch-offs (today)."

He will sell lottery tickets in his party shop but not his liquor store. Sales will commence at 9:30 a.m. today.

Nafus thinks the state lottery commission waited until the last minute to keep the tickets from falling into the wrong hands.

Kyle Williams, of Hammer-Williams, which owns convenience stores across northwest Oklahoma, said 11 of 32 stores had tickets by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

"They keep telling us we will have them. We will sell them in the stores that have them, and we hope to get a majority of the stores," he said.

Williams said the 51-day window Oklahoma Lottery Commission had to put the system together was asking too much in too little time.

All but three of Williams' company's stores had the lottery machines in place Tuesday.

Adding more confusion to the situation, is an incorrect list of which businesses across the state will be lottery retail locations.

A list on the Oklahoma Lottery Commission Web site (www.lottery.ok.gov) lists Jumbo Foods and Homeland in Enid as selling lottery tickets. However, neither of the two Jumbo locations nor Homeland will sell scratch-off tickets.

"Most Oklahoma retailers don't have any experience with the lottery. The control measures are pretty extensive. We operate a store in Arkansas City, Kan., where we've had a lot of experience. It's an extensive proposition to write control procedures to safeguard," Williams said.

"It's fascinating to me that people are interested in it," he said.

Williams is not a fan of the lottery and does not believe the state will hit its monetary projections. Gov. Brad Henry has said previously the lottery is expected to generate $150 million a year in new education funding.

Williams said he was not interested in the lottery coming to Oklahoma, but he said it is financially beneficial to his business.

However, he said Powerball will help Oklahoma, which will join the multi-state jackpot in January.

"When those pots get big, it's incredible the volume that will flow through," he said, "but I'm not happy to sell them, but it's part of our business."

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