04/16/2014 05:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Will You Use the New Illinois State Lottery App?

I spent 10 years editing letters to the editor at The State Journal-Register in Springfield and I could retire comfortably, probably with a 3 percent annually compounding cost of living adjustment, if I had a dollar for every letter that went something like this:

"They told us the Illinois State Lottery was going to pay for education so WHERE IS THE MONEY?!?!?!?!?"

My answer then was the same as it is now: The Illinois State Lottery does pay for education. It puts well over $600 million a year into education. That's a lot of money. But it's only a small slice of the $4.8 billion the state spends on K-12 education.

If only the lottery could increase its profit eight-fold, perhaps it could "pay for education," in the sense that my former letter writers meant.

Why bring this up now? Because now you can buy lottery tickets straight off your phone with the Illinois State Lottery's new phone app.

Reports the Chicago Tribune:

The app was created by Northstar Lottery Group, the company the state hired in 2010 to manage the Illinois Lottery. Gamblers can get in on the action of popular games like Mega Millions and Powerball and quickly check winning numbers.

While the app is free, there's a $5 minimum purchase. To buy tickets and collect winnings, users have to create an account and link it to their credit card, which lottery officials say is a way to ensure that people younger than 18 aren't playing. In addition, there are purchase limits of $150 a day, $1,050 a week and $3,500 a month.

A Northstar spokeswoman said there have been no big winners on the app yet, but several gamblers have snagged $1,500 prizes. Winners can get their money sent to their bank account or request a check.

So what do you think, lottery players? Is this the development that will please all those letter-to-the-editor writers who expect the lottery to pay for the state's education needs?

Or is the lottery culture built around its convenience store culture, and unlikely to embrace mobile buying?

Please take our poll and share your thoughts.
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