Local News

State Lawmakers May Roll Snake Eyes For Potential Lottery

Posted September 5, 2001

— The latest Powerball lottery may have whetted the appetites of the nation's players to buy more tickets for a chance to get rich, but America's fascination with the game failed to trigger enough interest among North Carolina lawmakers to move on starting a lottery in the state.

Right now, 37 states, along with the District of Columbia, have lotteries. South Carolina will start its soon and next year, Tennessee voters will decide on a lottery, but for now, lawmakers are not bowing down to the pressure.

"The leadership believes they don't want to lose the vote so they have elected not to run the lottery," says Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston).

The votes are so close in the state house that even its strongest backers are not willing to take the gamble. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Pasquotank) sponsored two lottery bills eight months ago only to see them go nowhere. He says the lottery is dead without some high-powered help.

"I think it's going to take a very hard push by the governor and other leaders of the General Assembly to get it out. Without that, it won't pass," he says.

Sen. Tony Rand (D-Fayetteville), who sponsored the bill, is still holding on to hope.

"I don't think the jury is really in on that just yet. It's still very much available and still very much out there," he says.

Time is also working against the lottery. The session is in its final weeks. The budget and redrawing voting districts will likely leave the lottery as the loser.

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