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Audit: Lottery Gambles Without Long-Range Plan

Posted April 10, 2008

N.C. Education Lottery
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— The North Carolina Education Lottery has no strategic plan or method of forecasting revenue and has done no marketing or operations research, according to state audit released Thursday.

The lack of planning could hinder the lottery's attempts to increase sales to raise more money for public schools in North Carolina, the audit said.

“Mapping out the proper strategy is essential to any successful business venture, and if North Carolina is going to be in the business of selling lottery tickets, the taxpayers should know that the lottery has a road map to success,” State Auditor Les Merritt said in a statement.

The lottery was launched in 2005 with a limited business plan, and the agency has no defined goals or ways to measure success, the audit said. It also uses a "consensus" estimate of annual revenue projections, based on discussions with the Governor's Office and legislative leaders, instead of using formal forecasting methods. Also, no efforts are made to determine the best way to reduce costs, determine customer satisfaction and evaluate advertising efforts.

Lottery director Tom Shaheen said the initial focus was to get the lottery up and running quickly, and officials are in the process of putting together a long-term strategic plan. With a couple of years of sales trends to build on, he said, lottery officials can begin doing more formal analysis to better predict annual revenue.

Separately, the audit found that the salaries of Shaheen and other lottery officials were in line with salaries paid to lottery officials in other states.

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  • jsanders Apr 11, 2008

    The lottery is an embarrassment, every lawmaker who supported it (even the non-crooks) ought to be ashamed of themselves, and they and others ought to understand that unlike a kind word, the lottery can be taken back: http://www.carolinajournal.com/jhdailyjournal/display_jhdailyjournal.html?id=4403

  • foetine Apr 10, 2008

    they said on the news that they don't even have an accounting department to handle their advertising. Seems like they're just throwing money around like they're a pack of Tony Montanas

  • fireman1963 Apr 10, 2008

    By the way, quigley - I am a Christian and the Bible commands us to point out evil when we see it. I definitely see it in the State of North Carolina Education Lottery. It's called cooruption, mis-management, and promoting gambling. Three strikes, they should be out and so should the lottery. Hope I wasn't being adultlike.

  • fireman1963 Apr 10, 2008

    quigley - so pointing out a program that the State of North Carolina is involved in that is two years old and seriously mismanaged is acting less than adultlike?

    Instead of belittling ordinary folks, why don't you voluntarily go to the lotteyr commission adn input your fixes? I guess just letting it go and "sucking it up" is the answer. After all, we should be adults about this and look the other way.

  • foetine Apr 10, 2008

    But now with afternoon gambling, we'll be able to send all our school kids to harvard

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 10, 2008

    OK. I don't like the lottery and I don't support the lottery. I have NEVER bought a lottery ticket in my life.

    As much as I don't like it and don't support it, I do thank those of you who stupidly fund my children's education. Even many people, who have no children, are paying taxes for my children to be educated. Then they buy lottery tickets which also help fund my children's education. I thank you all very much for your generosity.

    Sorry, I WON'T BE RETURNING THE FAVOR!

  • Karmageddon Apr 10, 2008

    OK all you lottery bashers may as well face the facts. The lottery is here and no matter how much of a hissy fit you throw it's not going away. So suck it up and act like adults

  • TechRescue Apr 10, 2008

    I disagree with Mr. Merritt - the lottery does have a long-term plan: It supports crooked politicans, allows a lot of money that WAS allocated to schools to be used for other, more important things, like kickbacks and payoffs, and pays Mr. Shaheen and his cronies very nice salaries and bonuses.

    Looks like a long-term plan to me!

  • whatelseisnew Apr 10, 2008

    Bought my first powerball ticket a couple weeks back. Not sure if I will ever play again or not. I guess spending a buck on it every couple years is not too painful.

  • mep Apr 10, 2008

    "The agency has no defined goals or ways to measure success". The goal is to get all the money they can from the people of this state, take most of it out of state, and give a small portion to the already mismanaged public school system so those playing will feel like they are actually helping out. Hence: The Goal is met. Give everyone involved a big pat on the back and a nice bonus. And we the taxpayers will continue to support this system regardless of the poor results. Its for the children.

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