The New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) is campaigning to convince the New York Legislature to increase the commission for lottery retailers for the first time in 50 years. The goal is to elevate the commission rate from 6 to 8 percent as part of the new state budget currently being negotiated.
“While lottery retailers have experienced incremental sales growth over the years, their costs of selling lottery have grown exponentially,” said NYACS President Jim Calvin.
There are 17,700 licensed New York Lottery agents statewide, including delis, bodegas, taverns, convenience stores, pharmacies, gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, newsstands, bowling alleys, truck stops, stationery stores, beverage centers and liquor stores. Together they have helped build New York Lottery into a $9.6 billion-a-year enterprise, says NYACS.
When New York Lottery began in 1967, the agent’s commission on a $1 scratch-off ticket was 6 cents, where it remains today; and despite that t he the state minimum wage has risen 547 percent since then. Other substantial costs to the retailer include insurance, energy, property taxes, payroll taxes, regulatory compliance and waste disposal.
According to Calvin, agents voluntarily granted the Lottery prime retail space in the heart of their stores for new video display screens promoting lottery around the clock. Exposure to loss from theft mushroomed as the Lottery expanded the number of instant games and introduced $5, $10, $20 and $30 tickets; and New York joined the multi-state MegaMillions and Powerball online games, whose occasional big jackpots build foot traffic but also create longer lines that chase away non-lottery customers unwilling to wait to quickly pay for gas, coffee, prepared food or a newspaper.
Other trade associations representing retailers have joined NYACS in calling for the commission increase, including the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, the Bodega Association of the United States, the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, the New York City Newsstand Operators Association, the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, the Korean American Grocers Association of New York, the United 7-Eleven Franchise Owners of Long Island and New York, the New York State Restaurant Association as well as the New York State Liquor Store Association.