House committee considers lottery ad changes

Posted March 6, 2013

— North Carolina's lottery could keep  "education" in its official name but would face restrictions on advertising and more disclosure requirements under a bill heard by the House Judiciary C Committee Wednesday. 

Sponsors of the bill say they still have more work to do on the measure, so the committee did not vote on the measure. It will be back on the committee calendar next week. 

However, Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, the bill's lead sponsor, said that it would cost $6 million to remove "education" from the North Carolina Education Lottery.

Lottery Director Alice Garland said the actual cost would be closer to $8 million by the time in-store signage was replaced and computers were reprogrammed to print the new name on tickets.

"There's almost no piece of our business that doesn't involve our name," Garland said. 

The measure would keep the lottery from advertising at high school and college athletic events, and it would stop the lottery from advertising that an accountant was on hand to oversee drawings. That notice, Stam said, gives the impression that the lottery is a fair deal.

"It's not on the up-and-up. The whole thing is a scam," he said. "You do much better with the mafia."

The bill also would direct the University of North Carolina system to develop lesson plans for public high schools to explain probabilities and odds of lottery winnings.

Lottery boosters say more restrictions could reduce ticket sales and net proceeds for education, which exceeded $450 million last year.

But the bill has the backing of some lawmakers who voted to create the state-run gambling enterprise in the first place.

"I don't believe that it is any longer the North Carolina Education Lottery," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.

He said the public and local officials should not be deceived into thinking the lottery takes care of all education funding problems, and he said he has an increasing uneasiness with using a gambling enterprise to fund education.

"Is this really the way we want to be doing that?" he asked.

Garland said that the bill would still present some problems for the lottery. For example, Stam's bill would require the lottery disclose not just the value of a Mega Millions or Power Ball prize paid out over 20 years but the value of that prize if taken as a lump sum.

For most of the lottery's advertising, Garland said, that wouldn't be a problem, but billboards that display the prizes are run by a national vendor.

"No other state does this," she said. The state would have to figure out how to get the additional information to billboards. She added that some billboards can't handle the weight of the prize display systems already, so adding a second set of "number boxes" would cut off more billboards from lottery advertising. 

Rep. Henry "Mickey" Michaux, D-Durham, asked Stam why he didn't just move to get rid of the lottery rather than offering it a death by a thousand cuts.

"Do you really think the people in North Carolina are dumb?" Michaux asked Stam.

The bill, Michaux said, was attempting to regulate people's behavior. He said that lottery players know what they're doing.

"I think the people of North Carolina are like the people of Lake Wobegon – they're all above average," Stam said. That said, he added, "Even a smart person given false information will act in a different way."


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  • oleguy Mar 7, 2013

    You are all about right,, The lottery is designed to take back the welfare money that should never been spent,, I see this group all the time they get Beer, Cigs, and whats left lottery tickets... Them they cash in what they win, Its HOPE and Change for the poor,,, Its their chance to Win BIG, the American dream
    SOO Sad

  • miseem Mar 6, 2013

    Shut the thing down. It's more trouble than it's worth. timex.

    You guys have all the answers. Shut down the NC lottery, it ONLY brings $450 mil to NC schools. And I'm sure the GA will replace that, right? And I'm sure no one will go to any adjoining states to buy tickets, thereby supporting schools in Virginia, SC, Tennessee, right? Just like refusing the Medicaid expansion. NC taxpayers will still be paying for the nationwide roll out of this, we just won't get any benefit from it. By the way, can anyone name a bill that has passed or is being considered that would actually create any JOBS, other than that pipe dream of the GOP, fracking?

  • Carrieb37 Mar 6, 2013

    I wish the General Assembly would spend more time on ideas that will help the state of NC get back on sound financial footing. While I don't waste my time or money playing the lottery,it was a bad idea to begin with, I am baffled at the riduculous bills that have been presented during this session. I won't enumerate, but this majority party of the legislature seems to be fixated on the wrong things.

  • beaupeep Mar 6, 2013

    I'll print new signs and fix their computers for $4 million.

    Seriously, they expect us to swallow that?

  • lsdhome Mar 6, 2013

    No one buys lottery tickets to help finance education in this state. To think otherwise is foolish.

  • Ex-Republican Mar 6, 2013

    "Lottery boosters say more restrictions could reduce ticket sales and net proceeds for education, which exceeded $450 million last year."

    $450 million last year! That doesn't even cover the cost of proposed school construction in Wake County.

    Shut the thing down. It's more trouble than it's worth.

  • silkesmom Mar 6, 2013

    Why advertise at all? Is there anyone in the state that doesn't know there is a lottery?

  • ghimmy51 Mar 6, 2013

    No surprise here. Bad idea to start with. Nothing but organized crime shown the welcome mat.

  • badnews777 Mar 6, 2013

    The North Carolina Educational Lottery is a Scam. It was illigally shoved down our throats buy the then crucked General Assembly and then Governor Mike Easily and LT. Governor Bev Berdue who casted the illigal tie breaker vote. They payed a vote to go out of town so the could get it passed. They didn't follow the rules in getting it passed. Then they attached the name "Education" to it to make it appear as a fix to the Education System. Now they take in nearly 5 Billion Dollars and the schools get they say 450 million. What happends to all the other money. By the time you figure the over bloated Administrative cost, the political kick backs, the overpaid Managers to run and manage the cost of processing winnings, of which they take their State Tax out before you get anything. Director Alice Farland is blowing smoke at us telling us it would cost $8 million to remove "Education" for the lottery. This is a joke. The Lottery will eventually casue grave problems for N.C.

  • disgusted2010 Mar 6, 2013

    Should the state be in the business of satisfying your wishful thinking?
    Grand Union

    Or yours?