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Odds of Lottery Committee Meeting Are Longer Than Any Game's Chances

Posted April 2, 2008
Updated April 3, 2008

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— Is the state of North Carolina breaking its own laws when it comes to the lottery?

In August 2006, Gov. Mike Easley signed a bill into law that established a lottery oversight committee. It is supposed to meet four times a year, but it hasn't met yet.

More than $300 million from lottery revenues last year went to North Carolina schools. One of the lottery oversight committee's functions is to make sure that money is used in the right way.

The committee, formed with nine members of the general public, is also supposed to monitor the overall operation of the lottery, meet quarterly and give lawmakers an annual report. But none of that has happened.

“We have a committee that's designed to oversee and that doesn't meet. That's a pretty big crack that it's fallen through,” said Chris Fitzsimon, executive director of government watchdog group NC Policy Watch.

All but two lawmakers voted in favor of creating the committee. And several told WRAL, they had no idea it was not meeting.

Easley said that does not mean the lottery is operating without a series of checks and balances.

“They are certainly getting plenty of oversight by the Legislature, and it's coming along pretty well,” he said.

Lottery director Tom Shaheen agrees.

“We have gone through two financial audits.We have gone through a security audit. We are at the tail end of a performance audit, and we're at the beginning of our second security audit, so there are numerous means to oversee what's going on at this lottery,”  Shaheen said.

Still, the political watchdog group said it is a matter of the law.

“The law requires that we have a committee made up of public citizens that make sure the lottery money is supposed to go and the lottery is run how it's supposed to be run,” Fitzsimon said.

A committee member with whom WRAL spoke with said the panel never met because it was never called to meet.

House Speaker Joe Hackney appointed a new co-chair to the committee Tuesday. WRAL was told there is a conference call scheduled, and the committee plans to meet as a whole some time late this month.

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  • NCnative 67 Apr 4, 2008

    There's a difference between the Lottery Commission and Lottery Oversight Committee. The Lottery Commission members listed on this site and the lottery's site have met numerous times in sessions that are open to the public. You can see the topics covered at the meetings on the lottery's site. The Lottery Oversight Committee is totally different. The Lottery Commission has not control on whether the oversight committee meets or not.

  • DougWare.NET Apr 3, 2008

    Wow...

    This is the perfect example of government over-regulation. Is anyone surprised that the government can't follow it's own rules?

    Why has it taken so long for this to become public?

  • WXYZ Apr 3, 2008

    Hmmm.... Semi-informative article.... Nice to be so "educated" about the "lottery". Seems to me that the obvious implication is that of ongoing cronyism and cover-up. ...hard to believe that Perdue has the gall to run for office--to me, the NC Lottery is nothing to be proud of.

  • DontBelieveTheHype Apr 3, 2008

    Sounds like those special 'no show' union jobs.

  • Scubagirl Apr 3, 2008

    hope this committee isn't getting paid, but if they are then I want a job where I have to do nothing and still get a check!

  • djofraleigh Apr 3, 2008

    "wooo hooo i hit 078 last night 500.00 dollars"

    Don't turn around and spend it on the lottery again. Quit while you are ahead.

  • bs101fly Apr 3, 2008

    I think Tom Shaheen AND the NC lottery should be SUED to FORCE the removal of the word EDUCATION from their gambling promotions! Any legal folk interested?
    When they "donate" as little as they do to Wake County, and the school are in such shambles, they should NOT be given the right to use the word EDUCATION!

  • djofraleigh Apr 3, 2008

    Are these people getting any pay for doing nothing?

  • MisunderstoodMind Apr 3, 2008

    I wonder if these people were receiving a paycheck.

  • FragmentFour Apr 3, 2008

    "Who are these people? It should be public record if nothing else. How much are they getting paid."

    If you'd read before you typed, you'd already know the answer to both of these repeated questions. So far, at least two people have pointed you directly at the answers.

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