RALEIGH, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The North Carolina Education Lottery is joining a handful of other states to launch digital scratch-offs. 

Officials at the state lottery believe there won’t be a learning curve.  
“It is going to be quite familiar to a lot of our players who have played over the years,” Communications Manager Adam Owens said. “Basically, we are going to where our consumers are.” 

The lottery says scratch-off tickets remain a popular product among its customers. Starting Wednesday, instead of buying them over the counter, users can play online or on their phone. 

The N.C. Education Lottery posted a YouTube video Tuesday explaining how it works.  

Users sign in or make an account on NCLottery.com, put their information in, deposit funds and begin to play. Prizes can be redeemed immediately. 

“Obviously, they can be more exciting and more interactive,” Owens said. “The games are, essentially at their core, the scratch-offs that people have loved for so long. They are just on their phones now.” 

It’s a convenience that has concerned organizations that assist gamblers with addiction. In recent years, the National Council on Problem Gambling says it has seen an uptick in people needing help. 

“If someone has an alcohol problem or drug problem, family members can see it,” said Gary Gray president of the North Carolina Council on Problem Gambling. “Gambling is hidden addiction. I am sure there is going to be an uptick in gambling across the state of North Carolina.” 

Owens explains lottery officials have always had concerns over responsible gambling. He says there are advantages to moving to a digital space. 

“Many times, if you purchase a ticket at a store, we only know so much about you as a consumer,” Owens said. “Now, you get an account, and you sign on, you are age-verified. We know for a fact exactly how old you are  And we can also learn a lot about your playing habits, and we can be more affected at helping you play responsibly.” 

The lottery has put limits on the amount of deposits users can make weekly and monthly. 

For more information visit NCLottery.com