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In historic vote, N.C. House passes lottery bill

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: In historic vote, N.C. House passes lottery bill

The North Carolina House approved a lottery Wednesday in a vote that could bring a state-operated numbers game to the only state on the East Coast without one.

The House voted 62-58 in favor of a measure bill that would dedicate profits from the games to school construction, scholarships and other education initiatives.

The bill would also ban lottery advertising anywhere except the sites where the tickets are sold.

Democratic Gov. Mike Easley has been pushing a lottery for education needs since taking office in 2001. House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, and his lieutenants pushed a bill through a lottery committee earlier in the day.

Though past lottery proposals met their demise in the House, supporters finally persuaded enough lawmakers worried about education funding — and a projected $1 billion state spending shortfall this coming budget year — to come to their side.

"I'm not so passionate about a lottery, but I am passionate about education," Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, said during an hour-long debate that preceded a swift floor vote.

Despite objections from the floor, Black pushed through a second-required voice vote immediately after the roll-call vote.

The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration. The Senate historically has favored a lottery but hasn't voted on a bill in a dozen years.

Supporters have said a lottery can be up and running in North Carolina within six months, and movement on Wednesday's bill was unusually swift for a body that often takes months to bring divisive measures to the floor.

Black, long opposed to a lottery, announced last month that he now supported one for the sake of recapturing money being spent on other states' games. He then said he would quickly bring a bill to the floor for a vote and named a special committee of lottery supporters to assure it encountered no obstacles.

Lottery supporters have said that with new games started in Tennessee and South Carolina in recent years, North Carolinians now spend $300 million a year on neighboring states' lotteries.

Opponents countered that the lottery's results will not match supporters' rosy predictions, warning it will create addicted gamblers, disproportionately harm the poor and won't generate the expected profits.

"North Carolina doesn't have to resort to gambling to educate its citizens," said House Minority Whip Mitch Gillespie, R-McDowell.

Rep. John Sauls, R-Lee, a pastor, likened using a lottery to raise money for education to a drug dealer who keeps selling drugs instead of taking a job at a fast food restaurant.

"I think is a sad day in North Carolina," Sauls said.

But supporters expressed confidence a game is a solution to the state's education funding worries.

"This is certainly an important day for the people of North Carolina and the educational system that we have and try to fund," said Rep. Bill Owens, D-Pasquotank.

Added Rep. Bernard Allen, D-Wake: "I firmly believe we are doing the right thing. We as elected officials have a duty to provide a (sound) education for the boys and girls of our state."

The House bill would divide lottery profits — which are estimated to reach $450 million annually — three different ways. Half would go to local school construction.

Another 25 percent would go to need-based scholarships that could reach $4,000 annually per student. The rest would be placed in an "Education Enhancement Fund" controlled by the General Assembly. Such a fund would likely be tapped for special education initiatives like Easley's efforts to reduce class sizes and expand the More at Four preschool program.

In an effort to address concerns that the lottery will act as a tax on the poor, there would be no newspaper, radio or television advertising of the games.

Opponents countered that there is no way the state will be able to leave such advertising limits in place if the lottery is to reach expected revenues.

"There will be a lot of pressure to take that ban on advertising off," said John Rustin with the North Carolina Family Policy Council. Opponents also complained that language in the bill that states that lottery revenues may not be used to offset normal education spending is meaningless.

The House, which in 2002 rejected a proposal for a statewide referendum that would have advised whether to start a numbers game, had been considered the primary obstacle to passage of a lottery.

Easley has campaigned for a lottery since he was elected governor in 2000. The Senate has approved lottery bills over the years, but has not voted on the issue since 1993.


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16 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by LOTTOMIKE.
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DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
Yinzer Country, PA
United States
Member #4067
March 18, 2004
2741 Posts
Posted: April 6, 2005, 5:16 pm - IP Logged

well woo-hoo.

I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

    Ladyluck2005's avatar - underground
    Denver, CO
    United States
    Member #13465
    April 6, 2005
    68 Posts
    Posted: April 6, 2005, 5:23 pm - IP Logged

    All I have to say is Finally (as long as the Senate approves it)!!

    No more driving over the border to SC to get tickets (unless NC doesn't get Powerball or Mega Millions).  Education will get the money & they will stop (hopefully) raising taxes to pay for education. 


      MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
      Beautiful Florida
      United States
      Member #5709
      July 18, 2004
      20104 Posts
      Posted: April 6, 2005, 5:26 pm - IP Logged

        bravo n.c., mr.gillespie your count was off quite a bit was'nt it...! now maybe the children of n.c. can get a decent education.     


                                                     "  When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty "

        North Carolina
        United States
        Member #4313
        April 11, 2004
        2389 Posts
        Posted: April 6, 2005, 5:39 pm - IP Logged

        Whew!!! It's about time!

        'Be Loving and Peaceful'Blue Angel

          wpb's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
          Charlotte North Carolina
          United States
          Member #464
          July 9, 2002
          17392 Posts
          Posted: April 6, 2005, 5:41 pm - IP Logged

          It's about time!



            United States
            Member #1826
            July 11, 2003
            2645 Posts
            Posted: April 6, 2005, 5:42 pm - IP Logged

            North Carolinians are already spending $300,000,000 on the lottery?! I think we may have a very successful lottery on our hands. Let's just hope they make the right moves, and not go the North Dakota route.

            (insert signature here)

              konane's avatar - wallace
              Atlanta, GA
              United States
              Member #1265
              March 13, 2003
              3333 Posts
              Posted: April 6, 2005, 6:15 pm - IP Logged

              Ye$$$$$$!!!  Good for them, congratulations to North Carolinians!!



              Good luck to everyone!

                United States
                Member #11761
                February 23, 2005
                174 Posts
                Posted: April 6, 2005, 6:29 pm - IP Logged

                "North Carolina doesn't have to resort to gambling to educate its citizens," said House Minority Whip Mitch Gillespie, R-McDowell.

                Rep. John Sauls, R-Lee, a pastor, likened using a lottery to raise money for education to a drug dealer who keeps selling drugs instead of taking a job at a fast food restaurant.

                "I think is a sad day in North Carolina," Sauls said.

                Many people from NC are already gambling. If they don't like it, they don't have to play...

                Congratulations NC

                  New Member
                  Davie County, NC
                  United States
                  Member #13342
                  April 4, 2005
                  15 Posts
                  Posted: April 6, 2005, 7:02 pm - IP Logged


                    Saleo Paleo's avatar - Trek DS9worm3.gif
                    United States
                    Member #3493
                    January 25, 2004
                    6348 Posts
                    Posted: April 6, 2005, 7:07 pm - IP Logged

                    Congrats to the legislaturs who see the need for a Lottery,To the ones who voted against it Get Real You are Robbing the Kids who need a better education,This is the Modern Day and Time,Don't use this self rightious bit,It won't work for you anymore. 

                    Saleo Paleo    

                      reddog's avatar - patch
                      Greensboro, North Carolina
                      United States
                      Member #1616
                      June 5, 2003
                      1283 Posts
                      Posted: April 6, 2005, 7:51 pm - IP Logged

                      You know I'm happy as a lark !!

                        Redmond WA
                        United States
                        Member #5966
                        July 29, 2004
                        71 Posts
                        Posted: April 6, 2005, 10:16 pm - IP Logged


                                      Just getting out of bed is a gamble!

                          Litebets27's avatar - power
                          United States
                          Member #10465
                          January 14, 2005
                          6065 Posts
                          Posted: April 6, 2005, 10:31 pm - IP Logged

                          Congratulations N.C. Can't wait to pickup some tickets as I travel through your State on vacation. Good luck.


                            charlotte nc
                            United States
                            Member #3249
                            January 6, 2004
                            27 Posts
                            Posted: April 7, 2005, 7:55 am - IP Logged

                            You Got That