House wants lottery players to know game's odds

Posted April 11, 2013

— The state House on Thursday approved legislation that would require the North Carolina Education Lottery to provide more information to the public about the odds of winning and the present value of jackpots.

House Bill 156, dubbed the "Honest Lottery Act," calls for lottery operators to disclose not only the odds of winning any prize but also the more prohibitive odds of winning the largest possible prize as well as the value of the lowest prize.

The lottery also must disclose the present value of a Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot. The value of such awards that is usually touted on billboards is if the winner takes the prize in partial payments over 20 years, but many people take smaller lump-sum payments.

"We need to make sure people have accurate information when they place their bets," said sponsor Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake.

An ardent lottery opponent, Stam called ads for the state-run numbers game "systematic misrepresentation," saying the Federal Trade Commission would shut the operation down if it had the authority to do so.

"The operation as a whole is a scam," he said.

Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, who voted for creating the lottery in 2005, said he co-sponsored Stam's bill because he has become dissatisfied with the lottery being seen as a cure-all for education funding.

"We've fallen prey, to some degree, to using the lottery to now supplant (state funding) and to use the lottery in a way that helps fund the education system while we (lawmakers) abrogate our responsibility to do it the right way," Glazier said.

An amendment Stam proposed Thursday, which was approved, calls for recipients of lottery proceeds to inform the public exactly how much they receive each year and how it was spent.

The bill, which now heads to the Senate after a 99-12 House vote, also would prohibit lottery advertising at high school sporting event and would stop the lottery from publicizing that an accountant was on hand to oversee drawings.

Outside of advertising rules, the bill would prevent the lottery from running any games other than scratch-off tickets or those in which random numbers are drawn. It 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.


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  • Spock Apr 12, 2013

    "Its has to be a sickness" -- Crumps Br0ther

    Quite the contrary Crumps - a sickness requires a frame of reference and a simple diagnosis, whereas these folks who have blinders on have neither. Maybe the reference should be to an animal that society commonly applies the "blinder" devices - oh... and NOT a horse or mule.

  • WXYZ Apr 12, 2013

    Finally, we have a majority of elected representatives who have the courage to tell the truth, and some to admit that they were very wrong in going along with the former Easley-Purdue crony democrat machine. BTW, why isn't Easley in prison?

  • Crumps Br0ther Apr 12, 2013

    NCGOP = the "Big Brother/Big Government" party, we'll tell you what's best for you!

    And forcing me to buy healthcare isn't telling me what is best for me? *sigh* you libs just never see your double standards do you? Its has to be a sickness

  • MonkeyFace Apr 12, 2013

    Last time I checked... The odds are on every scratch off and every sheet you fill out... So how is the lottery hiding this? Its not like people actually read them in the first place!

  • goldenosprey Apr 12, 2013

    Lotteries are terrible and I wish we did not have them. With surrounding states having them, they siphoned off NC money until we set one up, so we had little choice. At first I thought the bill might be a good thing. But I have to question Mr. Stam's motives. Does he care about poor/uneducated people who spend unwisely on lottery tickets or is he finding yet another exception to small gov conservatism to force his morality on an entire state? This smells a lot more like bible thumping than consumer protection. It's not like the republicans could care less about consumers in any other aspect.

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Apr 12, 2013

    NCGOP = the "Big Brother/Big Government" party, we'll tell you what's best for you!

  • gcannon Apr 12, 2013

    And I did not think that this measure had any "odds" of passing!

  • pdosburn2 Apr 12, 2013

    House leaders want public to know chances of winning the lottery. My guess that it's millions to one for the individual, but its 1 to 0 that the state wins.

  • Dukefan1 Apr 11, 2013

    I think people know the odds. You guys are just trying once again to decide how people should act.

  • Earth Brooks Apr 11, 2013

    What are the odds NC legislators will do the things they said the'd do when they were running for office? They should have to post those in their campaign ads.