Local News

Lottery Bill Filed in State Senate; Some Convenience Store Owners Not Sold on Idea

Posted April 3, 2001 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The first Senate bill supporting a state lottery was filed Wednesday in the N.C. General Assembly. But not all North Carolina retailers are behind the idea.

The measure was filed by Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland. It would designate net proceeds from a lottery to a voluntary preschool program for at-risk 4-year-olds. Rand said that he left out the details of how to run the lottery because it is unnecessary at this point.

Convenience store owner Steve Byers opposes the lottery for philosophical reasons.

"I think it's a poor way of doing state government business," he said. He says that if the state had a lottery, he would sell tickets for competitive reasons.

But Byers and other convenience store owners question whether the commissions from lottery tickets would cover the cost of selling them. He worries about having to add another employee to cover sales of tickets, if the lottery was popular.

The N.C. Convenience Store Association says that our state has the highest number of convenience stores in the country. The group says that the sheer number of outlets could spread store-specific lottery purchases and profits thin.