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Lottery Looks to Boost Sagging Ticket Sales

Posted May 11, 2007

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— The North Carolina Education Lottery is expected to cross the $1 billion mark in ticket sales Saturday, but remains about $200 million short of initial projections.

As lottery officials eye new games and different ideas to boost sales, such as $1 million raffle games that started Friday, director Tom Shaheen said he wants to focus on the accomplishments of the state-run games over the last year.

"I would rather look at it as we've crossed $1 billion in sales in barely over a year. That is a remarkable feat to reach," Shaheen said, noting the lottery has raised about $305 million for school districts across North Carolina so far.

But Shaheen said it will be difficult to revive sagging ticket sales because state lawmakers have been cool to the idea of pumping up  the portion of revenue used on advertising and prizes.

Virginia, for example, has a higher payout average per ticket than North Carolina, he said.

"In order to raise more money for education, we need to attract more players," he said. "You could always use more marketing opportunities to sell tickets. Certainly, we are limited here."

Despite restrictions, lottery officials said they would do what they can to spur interest.

About 60,000 tickets for the new raffle were sold Friday at $20 each, and although it isn't a sure bet, Shaheen said the game gives players better odds than other games. The 1-in-125,000 chance of winning the $1 million prize are even better than a lightning strike, he said.

"This may upset some people, but that's better than the odds of getting struck by lightning. It's four-and-a-half times better than getting struck by lightning," he said.


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  • Made In USA May 13, 2007

    The lottery was born within corruption. I've often wondered why so many people in our state gov either pushed for or against the NC lottery. Seems to me that a lot of the billion dollars collected so far has simply disappeared into the air. We'll never know for sure. I know one thing, I would bet my lottery dollar that the state is cheating us big time by fudging the figures!

  • al1793 May 12, 2007

    Face it the Lottery Folks duped us. It happens in every other state that has a lottery. 100% minus winning claims should go to education. Then and only then will it be worth playing.

  • mvnull May 12, 2007

    "Not true!!!

    Kids with a B average in Geogia get free tuition at state schools. It's been a tremendous success."

    Know why this is always given as an example of lottery money actually going to education? It is the only one. The ONLY way to assure the money actually goes to education is to create a new, unfunded program. Otherwise, the states cut back on funding. It happened here in NC even before the lottery officially started (More at Four funding was cut from the budget by the amount it gets in the lottery).

  • mvnull May 12, 2007

    Does anyone know if this is a real $1 million or a "lottery $1 million" (spread out over 30 years or significantly less in a lump sum)?

  • Arbi May 12, 2007

    so many complaints about very few winners .... has anyone looked at the website of nc lotery winners? looks like quite a few to me and some big ones too.

  • superman May 12, 2007

    Only about 30% of the money actually goes to education and they call it the "Education Lottery" You better get educated and learn to save your money--They should just call it the lottery. Your chances are better collecting on your husband's life insurance.

  • party pooper May 12, 2007

    Don't play scratch tickets. The odds are absolutely ridiculous. I know it's a lottery and the state is supposed to win. I only play PowerBall. The "pick three" game is a joke, low odds and very very low prize. PowerBall is the only one that could retire me. Yes, wishfull thinking, but still.......

  • nc lover May 12, 2007

    Glo I was to. I used to drive to Virginia on weekends to buy tickets before N.C. Approved the Lottery. Thought I would save in Gas Money (a whole nother story) but anyway you have brought up a good idea to -about allowing for donations on Tax Returns for Education.

  • glo May 12, 2007

    I was so excited when we finally got a lottery in NC. All my neighbors and co-workers played for 3 months until we realized no one had won anything over $5.00. Since then I haven't purchasd any scratch-offs and only an occasional Powerball ticket. I usually buy tickets in Virginia where i do win the occasional free ticket or $5.00 cash. And I still haven't run into anyone who won more than a couple of dollars in the NC lottery. If they want to sell more tickets, they need to up the odds. Otherwise, just cancel the lottery and put a space on our NC income tax forms asking for a $5.00 donation for education.

  • nc lover May 12, 2007

    Jessebrunett - Patriot and I were talking that very same thing about Georgia last night. Apparently (I didn't know) that Georgia has a great success rate with the Lottery where are states have been a disaster. Maybe other states should go to Georgia and ask where their secret is to a success.