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Beliefs Vs. Business: Storeowners Conflicted In Lottery Decision

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RALEIGH, N.C. — When it comes to the business of a lottery in North Carolina, it's not just about money for some retailers. It's a matter of survival.

"We drove an hour and a half to get here," said Garysburg business owner Swanda Majette.

Majette's family runs a small convenience store in Northampton County. She said this lottery application could make or break her family's business. It's operated in the community for close to 50 years.

"It's not that there's a lot of businesses in the area, but enough to take away from what we're trying to do," she said. "And eventually, it may close us out if we're not able to do it."

Other retailers like Steve Beyers understand the game is about competition, but face a dilemma. Beyers denounces gambling and opposed the lottery.

"I think it's a poor way for the state to do business," said Beyers.

For Beyers, the decision about whether to sell lottery tickets is a struggle between his Christian faith and the future of his business.

"There's a convenience store about every 150 yards in this town, and if you don't have it, they'll go somewhere else," he said. "And unfortunately in this business, you have to keep the doors open."

As for competition amongst retailers, they could top 5,000 by the time all applications are approved.

"There are all different types of businesses that have applied," said North Carolina Lottery spokesperson Pam Walker. "There are hardware stores, pharmacies, little 'Mom & Pop' stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, all different kinds."

For those business owners who don't want to get into the lottery business, one economist told WRAL that initially they'll be at a disadvantage. Mike Walden from N.C. State said those business should offer other promotions and incentives to attract customers.


Ken Smith, Reporter
Tom Normanly, Photographer
Dana Franks, Web Editor

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