NC Lottery Expands
Special Report - August 20, 2009
The North Carolina Lottery continues to grow and benefit from the recession that has forced families statewide to tighten their belts, and the General Assembly to take an extra month to balance the state’s budget. On August 18, the state Lottery Commission agreed to extend its contract with GTECH, Corp., responsible for lottery logistics and ticket printing, in exchange for GTECH purchasing 3,200 vending machines to sell Powerball and instant game tickets.
Purchasing the new machines would have cost the state $20 million. The agreement with GTECH extends the Lottery Commission’s contract with the company by four years, for a total 11 year contract to run North Carolina’s state lottery. Vending machines are currently used in a portion of the 6,045 retail locations in the state that sell lottery tickets, but they only dispense instant game tickets. The new machines will include the eye-catching Powerball game tickets too.
The goal behind the move is to make the lottery more appealing to chain stores like CVS, Dollar General, and Wal-Mart, which currently refuse to sell lottery tickets. “They’re asking to see a more convenient business model,” according to Lottery executive director Tom Shaheen. “These machines will be more customer friendly.” The new machines will require customers to insert a driver’s license to prove they are over 18 and will dispense the same tickets that are available for purchase at the counter. The first order is due to arrive in January with sales starting in spring 2010.
North Carolina joined the multi-state Powerball game that offers cash prizes in the hundreds of millions of dollars in 2006. Leading up to a drawing earlier this week, Shaheen commented “Sales are pretty brisk all around the country, including in North Carolina,” which is good news for the Lottery Commission, which was concerned that the down economy could hurt interest and participation in the game. The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 195 million.
“This is just another example of the ever present desire of the lottery to entice more people to gamble,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. "The more our citizens gamble, the less money they will have to purchase health insurance, feed their families, and buy other goods and services. Since the lottery is no longer for education, perhaps the new slogan should be ‘More Tickets In More Places’.”
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.