Last week, Matt Jameson fumed after reading about the North Carolina General Assembly balking at passing a state lottery.
"One vote short? What kind of nonsense is that? They could pass a lottery if they want to; this is nothing but politics," he said.
This week Jameson has resolve to vote against any lawmaker who fails to support a lottery. Jameson plays the lottery in Virginia periodically and said he'd rather spend his money in North Carolina than out-of-state.
"It's ridiculous. Every poll I've seen about the lottery suggests the people want one," he said.
North Carolinians will have to wait at least a week before they find out if the legislature will approve a state game, though. Lawmakers have taken this week off while some of their fellows have traveled to Seattle for a legislative conference.
Before the week off, Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, D-Dare, said he was one vote shy of being able to pass a lottery bill in the Senate. All 21 Senate Republicans and five Democrats oppose the lottery, giving the opponents a 26-24 advantage in the 50-seat chamber. One changed vote could lead to passage of the lottery by allowing Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, as Senate president, to break a tie.
Sen. A.B. Swindell, a Nashville Democrat, said he didn't know how the vote for a lottery would turn out.
Swindell said the numbers from every lottery poll he has seen indicate that about 75 percent of North Carolinians are in favor of a lottery or in favor of being allowed to vote for one in a referendum. He said most of his constituents have expressed support for a state game.
A lottery has been one of the top priorities for Gov. Mike Easley. Easley and state officials anticipate the lottery to generate $400 million annually for school construction and scholarship programs.
North Carolina is the only state on the East Coast that does not have a lottery.
And some folks feel it should remain that way.
The Rev. M.K. Smith of Christ Temple of Praise said he's opposed to the lottery. Smith said gambling has historically been a crutch for people living paycheck to paycheck.
"The government should not be in the business of promoting gambling," Smith said.
Although Smith said he has not taken public action regarding the lottery bill, he said he has spoken to lottery opponents and proponents about his opposition.
"I do understand the intent behind it; I understand the need to finance the schools, but I believe there are other ways we ought to explore raising money for our schools other than gambling," Smith said.
The Rev. Mark Creech of Kenly, director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, has been lobbying against the lottery for years. On his Web site, Creech said the lottery is still a "threat" during this legislative session.
"It ain't over just yet," Creech said. "If someone changes his or her mind during the course of next week, we can be sure the Senate leadership will call for a vote on the lottery as soon as they come back. The lottery is still a threat for this session."