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N.C. lottery still in limbo as budget talks continue

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: N.C. lottery still in limbo as budget talks continue

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley kicked off budget negotiations with House and Senate leaders by pushing for an aggressively advertised lottery that he would clearly control.

"The governor indicated that he would like to change some of the lottery language, and that's something we'd have to speak to the members about," House Speaker Jim Black said early Thursday, just after passage of the House's $17 billion budget proposal.

A lottery proposal that narrowly passed the House in April only allows lottery advertising at the locations where the tickets are sold. It devotes the proceeds to school construction, college scholarships and other unspecified education projects. It sets up a nine-member lottery commission and gives Senate leader Marc Basnight, Black and Easley -- all Democrats -- three slots to fill.

Black said Easley wants a lottery with more advertising and money dedicated to the governor's education initiatives, such as the More at Four pre-kindergarten program and reduced class sizes. Black also said Easley wants a majority of the appointments to the commission.

An Easley spokeswoman confirmed that the governor is talking about the lottery as part of budget negotiations.

"As you know, the governor supports an education lottery with the funding going to reduced class size, pre-k and school construction," said Sherri Johnson, Easley's press secretary.

Black didn't say whether he would go along with the governor's requests. But he has repeatedly warned against tinkering with the House's proposal. It was the first time in modern history the House had passed a lottery proposal, and it squeaked by with just two votes.

Normally, the lottery would not become a part of budget talks. But the Senate embedded changes to the House lottery proposal in the Senate's budget proposal. Those changes would reshape the lottery more to Easley's liking, since it shifts some of the money to More at Four and class size reduction, opens it up to more advertising and gives Easley five slots on the commission. It also doesn't fund college scholarships.

The advertising component may create the biggest debate. The House version so limits advertising that multistate, mega-jackpot games like Mega Millions and Powerball would be excluded. Black and other House members have been adamant about not subjecting North Carolinians to get-rich-quick lottery campaigns.

Senate Republicans and most House Republicans voted against each chamber's respective lottery provision. But they and a handful of Democratic opponents face a tough battle in keeping North Carolina from becoming the 41st state to run a lottery.

The Senate's budget insert "keeps the whole lottery issue on the table throughout the whole budget process," said John Rustin, a lobbyist for the N.C. Family Policy Council, a lottery opponent.

Tony Rand, the Senate majority leader from Fayetteville, said he thinks there are enough votes in the Senate to pass a lottery.

News & Observer

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8 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by wizeguy.
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wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

United States
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May 10, 2005
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Posted: June 17, 2005, 3:00 pm - IP Logged

I sure hope the House and Senate can work out their differences with a lottery resolution that passes both. I'd hate to see another year go by with no lottery there.

    rayj1101's avatar - home
    New Member
    Oxford, NC
    United States
    Member #15285
    May 12, 2005
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    Posted: June 17, 2005, 10:12 pm - IP Logged

    I really feel the NC needs a lottery.  NC is spending millions a year in state that adjoin NC.  Why can't the people of NC see this?  Wake up NC, you are throwing your money away to other states that are doing just what you say you want to do, and that is to support education.

      LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
      Tennessee
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      Member #7853
      October 15, 2004
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      Posted: June 18, 2005, 5:37 pm - IP Logged

      I sure hope the House and Senate can work out their differences with a lottery resolution that passes both. I'd hate to see another year go by with no lottery there.

      i agree with ya on that.....

        Tenaj's avatar - michellea
        Charlotte NC
        United States
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        June 18, 2005
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        Posted: June 18, 2005, 8:23 pm - IP Logged

        Neebie.  I live in NC and I am believing that we will get a lottery.  I get tired of going to SC to play.  NC is always the last to do everything.  No wonder they call us the "Rip Van Winkle State"

        Tenaj

          wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

          United States
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          May 10, 2005
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          Posted: June 18, 2005, 10:35 pm - IP Logged

          Neebie.  I live in NC and I am believing that we will get a lottery.  I get tired of going to SC to play.  NC is always the last to do everything.  No wonder they call us the "Rip Van Winkle State"

          Tenaj

          Hi Neighbor,

          I live on the south side so it's only a 4 mile drive for me. It still would be nicer to only walk to the corner store.

            LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
            Tennessee
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            October 15, 2004
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            Posted: June 18, 2005, 10:41 pm - IP Logged

            south carolina is making all the money off both carolinas


              United States
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              June 5, 2002
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              Posted: June 19, 2005, 1:26 pm - IP Logged

              I always thought NC was the "Tar Heel" state.

                wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

                United States
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                May 10, 2005
                414 Posts
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                Posted: June 20, 2005, 3:29 am - IP Logged

                south carolina is making all the money off both carolinas

                There's also a lot of North Carolina money going to Virginia.