American Express Largely Left Out of the Powerball Bonanza

  • JJ Hornblass
  • January 12, 2016
  • 1

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / 4774344seanAmerican Express has $1.4 billion of reasons to lament being left out of Powerball payments.

Amex is the only one of the major networks not contracted to process Powerball “subscription” payments. And, unless you have taken residence on Pluto, you know that Powerball, which is administered by Mega Millions, has an estimated jackpot of $1.4 billion. The next drawing takes place tomorrow.

Interestingly, for a venture it so contingent on payments, lottery tickets are relatively difficult to purchase. The official Mega Millions mobile app, called LotteryHub, does not allow for mobile purchases of lottery tickets. Only residents of Georgia or Illinois can buy Mega Millions tickets online, but they must first “register with the lotteries of those states.”

There is something called a Lottery Subscription that allows for the online purchase of lottery tickets, but only for residents of New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota and Virginia. MasterCard, Visa, and Discover have the rights to process those payments — with Amex out of the picture.

This is not the case in Europe, where everything — except the gasoline prices — is better. EuroMillions tickets can easily be purchased online. There is even something called WinTrillions.com that allows players to purchase lottery tickets from, well, almost everywhere, including the US. And yes, WinTrillions accepts American Express. Phew!

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at hornblass@gmail.com or 212-564-8972.

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