Local News

State lottery thrives as economy dives

Posted July 8, 2008 11:24 p.m. EDT
Updated July 9, 2008 2:21 p.m. EDT

— 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.