Local News

N.C. Lottery Trying to Boost Ticket Sales

Posted November 21, 2007 10:55 p.m. EST

— The North Carolina lottery hopes to boost ticket sales with heftier prizes. Three holiday instant games and a millionaire raffle offer more chances to win, and with bigger payouts.

Ticket sales are $7million behind last year's pace. Lawmakers recently allowed lottery officials to increase prizes to keep up with neighboring state lotteries.

“In order for us to raise more money for education, we have to sell more tickets. In order for us to sell more tickets, we have to give consumers the product they want and that's more prizes,” lottery executive director Tom Shaheen said.

It used to be just over 50 percent of scratch-off sales revenue went to prizes. Now, nearly half of the instant games devote 60 to 68 percent to payouts.

“They're trying to entice more people into a bad bet,” said Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake.

Stam said the bait will result in higher gambling losses. He claims the push to raise more money for schools is pure spin.

“The lottery money is enough money to build one school a year in Wake County and we've got to build dozens ever year,” he said.

With more revenue going to prizes, a lower percentage will go to education. But lottery officials said higher ticket sales will overall generate more money.

From July to November of last year, the N.C. lottery raked in about $348 million in ticket sales.

Lottery officials expect tickets to sell out for the holiday millionaire raffle. Only 500,000 tickets will be offered, more than 103,000 have sold so far.

In its most recent quarterly transfer, the lottery had funneled $80 million to education.