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Lottery law sets rivalry in motion

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: Lottery law sets rivalry in motion

Get ready for the lottery border wars.

With the North Carolina lottery bill signed into law by Gov. Mike Easley on Wednesday, lottery operators in surrounding states said they will fight to keep their share of a couple of hundred million dollars now being spent by Tar Heels in their states.

Operators in South Carolina and Virginia say they plan to aggressively market their lotteries and to offer prizes that will make their lotteries more attractive than what will be offered by North Carolina.

They said North Carolina's new lottery law — guaranteeing that 35 percent of the proceeds will go to education — will put the state at a competitive disadvantage. They said it will allow South Carolina and Virginia to offer larger and more frequent prizes, which they can advertise to North Carolina residents living near the border.

"It's a competitive edge that we can market, and players will understand that very quickly," said Ernie Passailaigue, executive director of the S.C. Education Lottery.

"We will take advantage to differentiate our product," Passailaigue said. "Tennessee and Virginia will do the same thing. They [North Carolina legislators] will need to correct it pretty quickly if they want a lottery that achieves what they want to achieve in North Carolina. ... That's been gift-wrapped for the three bordering lotteries."

Across Lake Gaston, four miles north of the North Carolina line off Interstate 85 at the Bracey exit, are the new front lines of the lottery wars. "Play Va. Lottery Here," one sign says. "Lottery Across Bridge," says another.

Bracey's convenience store owners say they expect a big drop in sales once North Carolina's lottery starts — but not a wipeout.

"All of us are thinking about what we're going to do," said Jim Rightler, 57, the owner of Bracey Mini Mart, where 90 percent of the lottery players are border-crossers. Several Tar Heel regulars place orders by fax, on credit. Many are lured by the giant jackpots of the Mega Millions game.

"If North Carolina gets Power Ball instead of Mega, I'll be OK," Rightler said. "If you get Mega, there's no reason to come here."

Out front, one sign advertised Mega Millions' $131 million jackpot this week. Another read, "We sold a $77,777 winner!"

Rightler is philosophical.

"I didn't want North Carolina to have a lottery — but you'd be stupid not to," he said. "Everybody's playing it."

Easley's plans

At a news conference in the state Capitol, Gov. Mike Easley holds up a copy of the freshly signed lottery bill.Easley signed the lottery law in the Old House Chambers on Wednesday. As dozens of legislators, educators and administration officials watched, Easley said passage of the lottery caps "a great year for education."

The governor said he expects the first part of the lottery, probably scratch-off tickets, to be ready in five months. Big-dollar games such as Power Ball or Mega Millions would come later.

Easley has said he hopes the lottery will raise $500 million a year for education.

Easley said he would ask the legislature next year to pass a constitutional amendment restricting the use of lottery proceeds to education. The lottery bill designates that 35 percent of the proceeds go to education. Of that amount, half would be used to reduce class sizes in the early grades and to help pay for preschool programs, 40 percent for school construction and 10 percent for college scholarships.

Easley said he would move quickly to make his appointments to the nine-member lottery commission.

Money leaving state

A large number of North Carolinians have already been playing the lottery.

Virginia lottery officials estimate that 7 percent to 10 percent of the $1.3 billion in annual revenues from its lottery, or as much as $130 million, comes from North Carolina residents.

South Carolina officials estimate that about 12 percent of the $1 billion its lottery brings in, or about $120 million, comes from North Carolinians. Ten of South Carolina's 12 largest lottery retail outlets are in York County, which borders Charlotte.

About 30 percent of South Carolina's lottery revenue goes to education, Passailaigue said, but it is adjustable and not mandated by law. Virginia has a goal of earmarking 32 percent of the lottery revenues for education, but it is not a law.

Warrenton car mechanic Archie Perch, 31, said he buys tickets at Rightler's store every day, even though he really can't afford to. Perch said he plans to play the lottery in both states.

"It's twice the fun, and twice the chance to win," he said. "I think it's great."

Perch said he has won about $10,000 over the years.

And how much has he spent to get it?

"Ain't no telling," he said. "I really don't pay attention to how much I've spent. But you can't win it if you ain't in it."

News & Observer

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8 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by Rip Snorter.
Page 1 of 1
BabyJC's avatar - Lottery-031.jpg

United States
Member #3271
January 7, 2004
148 Posts
Posted: September 1, 2005, 2:43 pm - IP Logged

South Carolina & Virginia have no shame --  Try being happy for North Carolina!

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    23962 Posts
    Posted: September 1, 2005, 2:50 pm - IP Logged

    They could care less about lottery players and being happy for the North Carolina residents.  The lottery is setup by the states for one reason, and one reason only: to generate money for the budget.

    That's why Lottery Post is so important:  we care for the players, and the players are our #1 priority.  That is not true of the states.  They will do whatever gets the most money, regardless of the consequences to the player.

    Those are just the facts -- no malice intended towards anyone.


    Check the State Lottery Report Card
    What grade did your lottery earn?


    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

      Sparta, NJ
      United States
      Member #18331
      July 9, 2005
      1977 Posts
      Posted: September 1, 2005, 3:36 pm - IP Logged

      They could care less about lottery players and being happy for the North Carolina residents.  The lottery is setup by the states for one reason, and one reason only: to generate money for the budget.

      That's why Lottery Post is so important:  we care for the players, and the players are our #1 priority.  That is not true of the states.  They will do whatever gets the most money, regardless of the consequences to the player.

      Those are just the facts -- no malice intended towards anyone.

      Also ...

      Those designated to run those lottery's exist for the pay check, and go the extra thousand miles to get the bonus.

      In some circles, its always about the money - and the power.


      |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

      I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

        Tenaj's avatar - michellea
        Charlotte NC
        United States
        Member #17406
        June 18, 2005
        4066 Posts
        Posted: September 1, 2005, 4:47 pm - IP Logged

        I think NC should start it's lottery off with a BANG.  Even though players from NC go to SC to get in the powerball, the pick 3 and 4 games are really what they drive down there to play everyday.   I hear them say all the time, I can't wait to go to the corner store to play my numbers.   NC lottery players play the numbers, ya'll.  They just want somewhere to play legally and not have to drive to another state to do it. 

        NC should start off with pick 3 and scratch offs because players will still go to SC and VA to play pick 3 and 4 until they get one and that will hurt the start up. They will still buy a ton of scratch offs but will go to SC and VA to play their numbers.  NC should get the powerball same as SC (because the biggest city is Charlotte and it is closest to SC) and those who want to play the mega millions - let them go to VA.  Keep the money in NC in the beginning by offering the pick 3.

        I know that starting off with pick 3 and scratch offs are unconvensional but that is the only way to keep SC and VA at bay.  If people can play their numbers from the beginning in NC, many of them will not go to SC or Va to play the pick 3 and 4 send their powerball by someone who is going.  I've seen groups get together to send their numbers to SC.  Besides gas will probabley still be too high.

        Granted, there will be some die hards who will play both, but I don't think they will be in the majority.



        native Charlottean



          Northern California
          United States
          Member #19948
          August 9, 2005
          153 Posts
          Posted: September 1, 2005, 7:05 pm - IP Logged

          I agree with Tenaj but for different reasons


          Pick 3 and Pick4 are simple, but not for people who haven't ever played.  You have to launch them when the lottery first starts up and people will invest the effort to learn how to play their numbers.


          Numbers games aren't jackpot driven - they are the gift that keeps on giving.  You can always add a big jackpot game soon after start-up.


          Once again, a legislature tries to get cute and ends up writing stupid enabling legislation.  They need to tweak the formula to say "prizes to at least 50%, and the Lottery to be run in such a way as to generate maximum DOLLARS for" whatever the benficiary is.  People spend dollars - not percentages.  Why they didn't allocate the profits to "college tuition" like GA and NM, I don't know.  It works - people know that playing the lottery means their kids, and their neighbors kids, pretty much have college paid for.

            United States
            Member #379
            June 5, 2002
            11296 Posts
            Posted: September 3, 2005, 10:52 am - IP Logged

            The NC legislation seems vague over what the prize percentages will be. NC will still be competing with all four of its neighbors with lotteries.

              LottoVantage's avatar - BRITIS 3.GIF
              Southeastern Ohio
              United States
              Member #13850
              April 16, 2005
              783 Posts
              Posted: September 3, 2005, 11:09 am - IP Logged

              North Carolina should start off with a Pick-5 lottery!

              No more than 32 numbers.

              Jackpot - $100,000.00

              2nd tier - $500.00

              3rd tier - $10.00

              4th tier - $2.00

              Either the Jackpot rolls over, or the lower tier prizes increase by the amount remaining when no one hits the Jackpot.

              No taxes on prize amounts.

              I'm running for the North Carolina directors job!


                New Mexico
                United States
                Member #12305
                March 10, 2005
                2984 Posts
                Posted: September 5, 2005, 9:25 pm - IP Logged

                A bit of healthy competition ought to do wonders in all directions.


                Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

                It's about number behavior.

                Egos don't count.


                Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser