Lotto tickets at self-service checkouts

Supermarket shoppers at three Dunedin Countdown stores can now buy some Lotto tickets from self-service checkouts as well as from those operated by staff.

Dunedin Central, Dunedin South and Andersons Bay Countdown stores are selling a limited range of Lotto products at the checkouts, but there is a limit on the number of tickets customers can buy.

Lotto tickets at both standard and self-service checkouts are limited to five tickets per customer, and Instant Kiwi is limited to 10 tickets.

Instant Kiwi is only available at standard checkouts, and is not available at the self-service checkout.

A Countdown spokeswoman said Lotto products could be bought at any checkout, but were not displayed at self-service checkouts.

''Our processes around age-restricted products apply at self-service checkouts, which means all age-restricted products are subject to our ID25 policy and require supervisor authorisation.''

She said buying Lotto was a personal choice and Countdown understood that some people might have concerns with the sale of Lotto products.

''We don't proactively ask customers if they want to buy Lotto, and keep promotional material at the checkout to a minimum.

''During the pilot we ran last year, feedback was positive with most people pleased not to have to queue twice, particularly at busy shopping times.

''We place great emphasis on being a responsible retailer and will continue to monitor customer feedback.''

The New Zealand Herald reported the number of Countdown supermarkets offering Lotto at the checkout has grown from 64 outlets three months ago, to 104.

A Lotteries Commission business plan released through the Official Information Act shows the checkout sales plan was considered key to increasing the number of Lotto and Instant Kiwi tickets sold and the locations from which they are sold.

The plan, which was presented to the commission board, shows it expected to gain 6% of new players through checkout sales.

The papers reveal the commission was under pressure from supermarkets to make sales of Lotto and Instant Kiwi more profitable.

Board members were told they faced missing out on ''key supermarket locations'' if no way was found to reduce the cost of Lotto sales on supermarkets, which paid for kiosk staff.

The papers show the Lotteries Commission struggled for almost two years to get Countdown owner Progressive Enterprises to sign up to the deal.

They reveal the Countdown owners were pushing for exclusive rights to the relationship.

The business plan suggests selling Instant Kiwi tickets ''next to chocolate, gum, magazines etc as last-minute impulse purchase choices''.

It said it needed to future-proof checkout sales by ensuring self-service shoppers could buy Lotto.

There were five paragraphs devoted to problem gambling, but the prospect of any likely rise in problem gambling was dismissed.

A Lotteries spokeswoman said the commission worked to make sure ''customers are informed, having fun and that they know their limits''.

Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey said he was concerned at the increasing normalisation of gambling: ''We're saying to people - and particularly kids - it is part of a normal grocery shop.''

- Additional reporting The New Zealand Herald


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