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N.C. Commission Hears From Experts About Lottery Guidelines

Posted October 26, 2005

— Wednesday marks the second meeting for the new state lottery commission. It is also the start of a series of weekly meetings, but the group's quickly finding itself embroiled in a series of problems.

"With all of this scrutiny, with all of this concern about our work -- it has never been more important to make our actions apparent in every way," said Charlie Sanders, head of the lottery commission.

On Wednesday, commission members heard from Duke professor Phillip Cook, who wrote a book about the lure of the lottery. He urged the commission to tell the public about the long odds of the lottery.

Later in the afternoon, Rebecca Paul, chief executive officer of the Tennessee lottery, is expected to talk to the commission. She helped to set lotteries in Florida and Georgia.

The lottery commission is already dealing with a resignation. Malachi Greene said he does not have the time to devote to the panel. Meanwhile, the state GOP and the

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are calling for the resignation of Kevin Geddings. Geddings admits to a friendship with a vice president of the lottery company, Scientific Games. He said he will not vote on any vendors, and he will not leave the commission.

"It's really my decision as to whether I stay or go and trust me, I am staying and looking forward to serve and continue to serve," he said.

The man who appointed Geddings is also under fire. House Speaker Jim Black worked with Meredith Norris, an unpaid political adviser to Black and a consultant to Scientific Games. Scientific Games helped to write North Carolina's lottery law.

E-mails obtained by WRAL show Norris arranged a dinner with the speaker and a Games executive. Now the Secretary of State's Office is investigating whether Norris lobbied for the lottery company without registering as required.

"She was not a lobbyist. She was, as I understand it, hired as a consultant. End of story. We need to get over it and get on with the lottery implemented," Black said.

Lottery commission members are in for a busy meeting Wednesday. They will meet with people who have helped start lotteries in other states. They will also hear from a Duke professor who wrote a book that's critical of lotteries.

As for filling the resignation, Gov. Mike Easley will consult with Senate leaders about a replacement.


Cullen Browder


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