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State lottery thrives as economy dives

Posted July 8, 2008
Updated July 9, 2008

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— The economy may be down, but lottery sales are up. New statistics show the state lottery experienced about a 60 percent increase in sales this spring, compared with the same time last year.

"I love the lottery. It's bad, but I do. I love the lottery,” Gwen Glenn said.

Glenn said she never misses a date with the games.

"I was glad when it came here. Before then, we would go to Virginia and play,” she added.

Glenn plays seven days a week and is not alone. Bigger prize payouts are said to be luring in more players.

Tom Shaheen, lottery executive director, said ticket sales, particularly scratch-offs, began picking up several months ago after the General Assembly approved changes that allowed the lottery to give out more in prizes, making tickets more attractive to players.

However, some people are citing the sluggish economy as a reason for the boost in sales.

"They're trying to hit the big money, and that's what it's all about. Trying to hit big,” store clerk Brian Hinton said of lottery players. "Sales are very good, very good."

Hinton said he doesn't expect lottery sales to slow down anytime soon.

North Carolina became the last state on the East Coast to operate a lottery when the first tickets were sold in March 2006.

The 2005 law creating the lottery required at least 35 percent of ticket sales to benefit education, dished out to efforts to reduce class sizes in early primary grades, expand the More at Four preschool program, help local districts build schools and provide college scholarships to needy students.

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  • Rolling Along Jul 9, 2008

    I would be interested in seeing some demographic information on who does play the lottery. I would be willing to guess it is the ones that can least afford it. I have better things to do with my money. I also don't trust the incompetents in Raleigh to be able to spend the gains effectively anyway.

  • doodad Jul 9, 2008

    Wasted? When will drug sales decline? Talk about wasted money.

    Drugs are why I don't have much sympathy for the "poor".

  • town guy Jul 9, 2008

    It makes me wonder how bad the economy really is. There seems to be a lot of money available to be wasted.

  • duke1man2002 Jul 9, 2008

    I LOVE IT. ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT SAY IF NC GETS A LOTTERY THEN THE PEOPLE WILL SPEND ALL OF THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY TRYING TO WIN. GET A LIFE PEOPLE IT'S EACH INDIVIDUALS' OWN RIGHT TO TRY THEIR OWN LUCK. YOU PEOPLE THAT DON'T LIKE THE LOTTERY WELL DON'T PLAY IT, BUT DON'T TELL THE REST OF US THAT WANT TO TRY AND HAVE SOME FUN THAT WE ARE IN THE WRONG!!!!!!!!

  • Evil one Jul 9, 2008

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

  • missdawg Jul 9, 2008

    " I really wish the scholarships were tied to academic achievement, it would be nice if people had to actually "do" something to get that money." whatelseisnew

    Ummm, people DO actually "do" something to get those scholarships. If a student doesn't pass their classes, the scholarship money goes to someone who does but has less financial need. How is that not based on academic performance?

  • doodad Jul 9, 2008

    I wonder how many people play out of desperation. The lottery commission should do a survey.

  • wildervb Jul 9, 2008

    The lottery is simply a tax for those who are poor at math.

  • jsanders Jul 9, 2008

    Not a surprise, unfortunately. Counties with high poverty and unemployment rates tend to have the highest rates of lottery ticket sales in North Carolina:
    http://www.johnlocke.org/press_releases/display_story.html?id=253

  • readme Jul 9, 2008

    I hate the lottery, but for different reasons than most. The problem is the givernment has a monopoly on it, and the odds are horrible against you. I think the givernment has no business making gambling illegal. I can make this decision myself as to whether or not to gamble. I say make it legal and open it up to private competition! Then maybe I can actually gamble on some better odds and have a better change of winning than of getting struck twice by lightning.

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