- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - Ohio Lottery officials are considering new options to pay some winners because retailers now have less cash on hand to give out to those holding winning tickets.

Lottery winners might one day receive payment cards or have their winnings electronically transferred to an account, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported (http://bit.ly/1JXNGHX ).

Retailers can redeem winning tickets of up to $599, but Ohio Lottery Finance Director Greg Bowers said some retails don’t have enough cash on hand to pay out the prizes because of the increased use of credit and debit cards.

“It is a hot topic in the lottery industry,” he said.

Bowers said he is not aware of any retailer who has been unable to pay winnings, but the problem can occur. About 85 percent of prizes are paid by retailers.

Winners of prizes between $600 and $5,000 can obtain a claim form at retailers to send in or they can receive cash from 192 banks across the state for a fee of $10.

Those who win more than $5,000 must contact a regional lottery office.

“This has been a struggle on how to get people their money because they want it fast,” Lottery Director Dennis Berg said. “And certain people in this culture want cash.”

Lottery officials said younger players would likely prefer another option than cash since they often don’t carry a lot of money.

If cashless payouts are implemented, some retailers might be allowed to cash winning tickets between $600 and $5,000.

The Michigan Lottery introduced a debit card two years ago that allows players to buy tickets and have prizes up to $600 loaded on the card. But the lottery discontinued the card earlier this month.

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Information from: Northeast Ohio Media Group, http://www.cleveland.com

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