Ninety-nine percent of the $164.2 million of EBT card transactions on a list of personal welfare spending data released by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services was spent in Maine.

Of the remaining 1 percent — $2.8 million — half was spent in New Hampshire.

The rest was spent or cashed in the remaining 48 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia in close to 10,000 transactions at liquor stores, bus stations, amusement parks, grocery stores, gas stations, race tracks, convenience stores, Walmart and motels and resorts, among other places. An overwhelming number of transactions were cash withdrawals from banks and ATMs.

The transactions date from Jan. 1, 2011, to Nov. 30, 2013.

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Outside Maine, the highest number of transactions — 11,328 — were in New Hampshire, including five transactions at the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine outlet on the traffic circle in Portsmouth, $1,200 worth of transactions at two discount liquor stores in Conway, three transactions totaling $280 at the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet on Route 95 southbound and seven transactions totaling $540 at the outlet going northbound.

On May 1, 2011, Dec. 1, 2012, and March 23, 2013, there were cash transactions at the Poker Room in Hampton Falls. The March 23 transaction was for $60, about half the amount needed to buy in to that day’s poker tournament.

On June 5, 2012, there was a $120 transaction at the Indian Head Resort in Lincoln, which is a family-friendly resort. The next day, there was another transaction for the same amount.

On July 2, 2011, at 6:24 p.m., $140 was withdrawn at the Residence Inn in Portsmouth. A minute later, another $120 was withdrawn and then $10 more a minute after that.

On Feb. 2, 2013, a card was used to get $200 in cash at the Hampton Inn in Portsmouth,

On July 1, 2011, a card was used to cash $60 at a TD Bank branch in North Conway. Less than a minute later, another $340 was cashed at the same location. Within the next eight hours, another $1,120 was cashed there in multiple withdrawals.

The largest cash withdrawal in New Hampshire appears to have been on Feb. 8, 2012, at the TD Bank on Central Avenue in Dover. At 5:34 p.m. that day, $800 was cashed; 45 seconds later, $1,000 was cashed and 52 seconds after that, another $380 cashed, for a total of $2,180.

At that bank, there were a total of 41 cash withdrawals totaling nearly $8,000 contained in the data.

In August 2011, $100 was withdrawn at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, and cards were used at Storyland in Glen in June 2013 and again in September. In July 2013, $60 was taken out at the Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, when The Summerland Tour 2013 was there, featuring the Oregon-based rock band Everclear and three other bands. And, on Aug. 22, 2013, $200 was accessed at Santa’s Village in Jefferson.

In Rochester, a total of $3,746 of EBT cash was withdrawn at Bea’s Jewelers in 29 separate transactions at the Lilac Mall, including many made minutes apart.

At a Citizens Bank in the same mall, the data shows there were 94 transactions withdrawing a total of $23,040 in cash. On Feb. 1, 2011, $600 was withdrawn at 9:31 a.m.; $120 was withdrawn at 9:32 a.m.; $260 was withdrawn at 9:58 a.m.; $580 was withdrawn at 11:02 a.m.; and $380 was withdrawn at 12:30 p.m.

Among these Citizens Bank transactions, $600 was taken out six times: Feb. 1, 2011, June 1, 2011, July 1, 2011, Aug. 1, 2011, April 6, 2012 and July 2, 2012. Each of these transactions occurred within minutes of other Maine EBT withdrawals.

State Transactions % Amount %
Maine 1,015,106 97.97% $161,495,708 98.32%
New Hampshire 11,328 1.09% $1,391,061 0.85%
Massachusetts 2,918 0.28% $358,685 0.22%
Florida 1,252 0.12% $206,216 0.13%
New York 891 0.09% $99,640 0.06%
Connecticut 620 0.06% $81,600 0.05%
Rhode Island 368 0.04% $47,340 0.03%
North Carolina 237 0.02% $42,958 0.03%
Pennsylvania 255 0.02% $41,578 0.03%
New Jersey 286 0.03% $41,124 0.03%

Do you know how EBT cards are used in your town? Use our online database of EBT transactions to learn more.

Maine’s EBT card spending was third highest in Massachusetts, where there were 2,918 transactions recorded during the time covered by the DHHS data, including a $200 transaction at the Sheraton Hotel at Boston’s Logan Airport on Sept. 7, 2013.

A card was also used for a $200 transaction at the Danvers Sheraton Hotel on March 3, 2011. And, on April 1, 2012, $160 was withdrawn at the Sturbridge Host Hotel, part of the conference and convention center supporting Old Sturbridge Village.

On July 1, 2012, at a Bank of America in Dorchester, a card was used to cash $200 at 6:31 p.m. Another $100 was cashed at that same location 13 seconds later.

On Dec. 1, 2012, at a Bank of America in the Grove Hall section of Dorchester, $480 was cashed at 8:41 p.m.; 90 seconds later, another $180 was cashed there.

A month later, at that same bank, $440 was cashed out within three minutes. In all, Maine EBT cards were used to withdraw $5,380 from that bank location in 32 transactions over the two-year span of DHHS data.

Cards were also used for a number of withdrawals at Logan Airport in Boston, including more than $2,000 from Bank of America in 15 separate transactions, the largest of which was $700 on Aug. 1, 2013.

In Revere, nearly $2,500 in cash was withdrawn from various banks in 15 transactions.

There was only one EBT transaction at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, for $100 on April 5, 2011, during a Major League Soccer game between the Portland (Oregon) Timbers and the New England Revolution.

Just before midnight on Oct. 1, 2011, a card was used to get $20 at Hook Slide in Lowell, a college bar known for its cheap drinks and dance atmosphere.

On Aug. 2, 2012, at 11:09 p.m., $100 was withdrawn at the Celtic Tavern, an Irish pub in Northborough. The next day, at 5:09 p.m., an EBT card was used to get another $80.

On July 1, 2011, a card was used at Bruso Liquor Mart in Ware to acquire $180 at 12:45 p.m.; six hours later, a $100 withdrawal was made at the same location.

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The fourth-highest spending for Maine’s EBT cards was in Florida, where cards were used for 1,252 transactions in 2011 and 2012.

On Aug. 10, 2011, an EBT card was used for a $20 withdrawal in the visitor center at the Kennedy Space Center.

In February 2012, $120 was cashed at the Camp-a Wyle RV Resort in Brooksville, which is near Orlando.

In Miami on July 1, 2012, $200 was accessed at an oceanfront hotel overlooking North Beach.

On March 1, 2012, in New Port Richey, $400 was withdrawn from a Chase bank in two $200 transactions, one at 7:03 a.m. and the second a minute later.

That same day, in Winter Park, an EBT card was used to get $120 at a water park at the Liki Tiki Village family resort.

And in Orlando on Sept. 2, 2012, $200 was cashed at a Greyhound station on N. John Young Parkway at 10:01 p.m. One minute later, another $200 was cashed and 30 seconds after that a card was used to cash another $100.

See for yourself

Learn what towns, states and stores have the most EBT transactions by going to www.SunJournal.com/EBT to see where Maine EBT cards were used in Maine and around the country.

Also read: Mainers use their EBT cash for interesting things in unusual places


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