The Senate vote was tied 24-24, but Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, the Senate's presiding officer, cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of creating the lottery.
Tune in Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. as WRAL takes an in-depth look at Tuesday's historical lottery vote and how the new numbers game will have an impact on our state.
Gov. Mike Easley is expected to sign into law
House Bill 1023
"I did what I thought was right," Perdue said.
Before Tuesday, North Carolina was the only state on the East Coast without a state-run numbers game.
Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, brought up the bill for consideration about 1:15 p.m. Senate leader Marc Basnight told WRAL he called senators back to Raleigh because he thought the votes were there to pass a lottery.
Five Democrats and all 21 Republicans in the chamber opposed a lottery bill that would funnel net proceeds to public school construction, college scholarships and Easley's class-size reduction and preschool programs.
Two Republican senators who opposed the lottery -- Harry Brown of Onslow County and Robert Garwood of Wilkes County -- were not present at the Legislature for the vote. Both had received excused absences.
The state House approved the same bill in April by two votes, meaning the measure now heads to Easley.
"This is a win for the 4-year-olds who require pre-K, the low-wealth counties that need assistance with school constrtuction and the disadvantaged students trying to go to college," Easley said in a statement.
Lottery bills have floated through the General Assembly since the 1980s. Since then, North Carolina's neighbors had established games, and residents hoping to strike it rich traveled to Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia to play the lottery in those states.
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