COPY-Is the lottery a loser for local businesses?

LAWTON--A day after the chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party called for a repeal of the lottery local businesses say they haven't seen a boom in profit as a result of the lottery.

"Our customers like to play it, so we're going to serve our customers," said Carey Johnson of Carey Johnson Oil and EZ-GO.  "If the lottery were not here, I would be a lot happier."

Johnson said retailers only receive 6 percent of lottery sales they make, compared to up to 30 percent on items like snack foods and soda.  He also said his stores have had to increase security and labor to keep pace with lottery demands.

"I don't think the lottery instantly created any money," he said.  "People didn't have this money stacked in their corners.  They would've spent that money on other things if the lottery weren't here to buy."

Johnson said at the 16 local EZ-GO stores that sell the lottery, sales increases are behind the 7 EZ-GO stores that do not sell the lottery.

Lynn "Fluffy" Mason, the owner of Fluffy's Quick Stop, said, like Johnson, his customers enjoy the lottery.

"We don't make very much at all on the lottery," Mason said.  "Repealing the lottery, as far as cash flow, we wouldn't feel it hardly at all.  We like to see people and the smiling faces."

Mason said repealing the lottery would mean losing customers to stores in Texas.

"It seems a little silly to me," he said.  "If we were to repeal it we would be sending an awful lot of money right down the interstate to Texas."