Bill Would Scratch "Education" From Lottery Name
Special Report - May 22, 2008
State Senator Harris Blake (R-Moore) has introduced a bill that would eliminate the word “Education” from the title “North Carolina Education Lottery” and rename the government-sponsored numbers game the “North Carolina State Lottery.” Explaining why SB 1705Lottery Name Changed is necessary, Sen. Blake remarked, “The whole implication was that we were going to take the lottery and use it to fund education, which is an inherent conflict of interest based on the fact that the lottery is gambling.”
The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation authorizing the lottery in 2005 and the state began selling lottery tickets in March 2006. Since that time, the lottery has failed to meet revenue projections and has fallen short of the funding promised for education-related programs in North Carolina. For example, in the first full year of operation, the lottery fell approximately $325 million short of anticipated ticket sales and close to $112 million short of the amount earmarked in the state’s 2006-07 budget for education. Instead of living up to the funding expectations promoted by Governor Mike Easley and other gambling proponents and providing additional funds for education as promised, the lottery quickly supplanted state funding for programs like More at Four and reducing class size in public schools. In addition, the lottery has failed to provide the financial windfall for school construction that local education officials were led to believe it would supply.
“Since its inception, the ‘North Carolina Education Lottery’ has been a misnomer, because state sponsored gambling has absolutely nothing to do with education,” said John Rustin, vice president and director of government relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “As we saw happen time and time again in other states, gambling industry lobbyists came in to North Carolina and intentionally misled the public and many state lawmakers by identifying the lottery with the most popular of causeseducation and children. When the time came to push for passage of the lottery in the legislature, revenue estimates were highly inflated and lottery proponents made promises they couldn’t keep. Senate Bill 1705 will bring some much needed ‘truth in advertising’ to the state lottery,” Rustin concluded.
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.