Georgia retailers lost the Powerball before it started - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Georgia retailers lost the Powerball before it started

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Yesterday's Powerball excitement ended with two winners elsewhere in the country, but no one in Georgia will be receiving any part of the $550 million jackpot.  And as players across the state are lamenting their losses, we learned that ticket retailers have been losing out for much longer than that.  In a measure taken last year, the state no longer allows sellers of lottery tickets to receive commission from large prize winners. 

"The stores would get a real healthy chunk out of it, but now it's just like, you know, they don't get really nothing," said Angela Boone, from Crazy Cecil's Party Store.

Under the former rules, if the $550 million Powerball  had been won by a Georgia resident, the store that sold the ticket would receive $25,000.  And in Missouri, where half of last night's record prize was won, a convenience store will get a $50,000 bonus.  Georgia is one of only seven states that does not help out small business owners who bring the tickets to the customers. 

"It's not a good idea because we don't make enough off the lottery anyway.  We only make 6% when we sell a ticket, and we don't make anything for cashing a ticket in.  We used to make 2% for cashing them in, and they took that away," said Ralph Smith of Mr. B's Liquor, Beer and Wine.

Ever since Georgia stopped allowing retailers to get bonuses, some stores are wondering what reason they have to continue selling lottery tickets.

"That's why there's no incentive for anybody to cash in tickets anymore.  Pretty much the only ticket we will cash in are the ones we sell.  Sometimes think about doing away with it," said Smith. 

Many stores in the Columbus area have stated that while they are unhappy with the new rules, they are not planning on taking the tickets out of their stores.  Or at least, not immediately.

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