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N.C. Lottery begins today

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: N.C. Lottery begins today

The signs say it all: Play Here.

After years of watching players take their millionaire dreams — and spending money — across state borders, North Carolinians will start playing their own lottery today.

At 6 a.m. in Raleigh, State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee will buy the ceremonial first ticket of the N.C. Education Lottery. Lottery retailers throughout the state will start selling tickets to four scratch-off games at that time.

The state has sent more than 50 million tickets to about 5,000 stores. Another 50 million or so are waiting in a Raleigh warehouse.

If things go smoothly, lottery officials want to launch other instant winner games within weeks. Powerball, the country's largest gambling prize, will be available at N.C. stores by late May.

But lottery fans and critics will wait months to get answers to questions that made the lottery a hot-button issue for more than 20 years.

No one knows whether the state can meet its goal of selling $1.2 billion worth of tickets in a year's time. That would mean about $400 million for N.C. schools. And it's not certain that schools will end up with more money than they would have gotten from the state anyway.

Tom Shaheen, who moved from New Mexico to North Carolina to run the lottery, said long lines at convenience stores today would be an early sign of success. But answers to long-term questions will be more important.

"There's no real gauge about what makes a successful lottery, other than public opinion," Shaheen said.

N.C. Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, who voted against it, said, "Time will tell whether the lottery will live up to the expectations which have been created."

North Carolina is the 42nd state to launch a lottery, the last on the East Coast. The state has spent more than $6 million to help Shaheen set up a 163-employee agency in three months. Shaheen will get his own reward — a $50,000 bonus with the launch of the lottery.

The state will hold celebrations in several major N.C. cities today and throughout the weekend. But part of the game's success will be measured in small towns that dot the state's borders with South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Lottery supporters finally got lawmakers to back the game by arguing N.C. ticket buyers were spending up to $400 million on tickets in other states. That was tantamount to giving $100 million to fund other states' schools, they argued.

Now that the decision is past and the tickets printed, it's in everyone's interest that the lottery succeed, said Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland. He voted against the lottery but now plans to sell tickets in his Black Mountain store.

"We should always want what we do in the legislature to be in the best interest of the state — and to work," he said.

How They'll Work

Here's a look at the first four N.C. lottery games:

Carolina Cash

The ticket buyer gets 15 numbers. If they match any of the four "winning numbers" on the ticket, the buyer wins the prize shown.

  • Ticket cost: $5
  • Odds of winning any prize: 1 in 3.75
  • Top prize: $100,000

Blackjack

The game simulates blackjack at a casino. If any of the ticket buyer's 10 "hands" outranks the dealer's two cards, the buyer wins the prize marked.

  • Ticket cost: $2
  • Odds of winning any prize: 1 in 4.8
  • Top prize: $21,000

N.C. Education Lottery Tickets

The tickets contain images of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, a dogwood tree, a cardinal or Fairfield Lake in Jackson County. Players rub off the ticket to reveal six prize amounts. If three of the amounts are the same, the player wins.

  • Ticket cost: $1
  • Odds of winning a prize: 1 in 4.6
  • Top prize: $5,000

Tic Tac Toe

If three prizes line up horizontally, vertically or diagonally, the player wins the amount marked in the "prize" box.

  • Ticket cost: $1
  • Odds of winning a prize: 1 in 4.9
  • Top prize: $5,000

Where's the Party?

The N.C. Education Lottery's first launch party will be at Independence Center Plaza at the corner of Trade and Tryon streets in uptown Charlotte today from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Scratch-off tickets will be on sale there until 2 p.m. The lottery will also bring a "cash cube." Participants can try to grab free lottery tickets swirling around a sealed booth.

What's Next?

INSTANT GAMES:  Lottery officials know the initial excitement over games can wear off quickly. They want to launch four new scratch-off games within a few weeks.POWERBALL The N.C. lottery will start its first numbers game May 30.

N.C. NUMBERS GAMES:  Lottery head Tom Shaheen expects to create Pick 3, Pick 4 or Pick 5 games by the fall, similar to those the S.C. lottery offers. The state also could team with neighboring states to provide a game with a larger jackpot.

Answers to your lottery questions

Q: When do tickets go on sale?

6 a.m. today

Q: Who can buy tickets?

Anyone 18 or older

Q: Where can I play?

Any of the more than 5,000 retailers displaying the N.C. Education Lottery logo. Visit the interactive map at charlotte.com/news for details.

Q: How much do tickets cost?

Tickets based on four different scratch-off games cost $1, $2 and $5.

Q: What do you mean by scratch-off?

Players use a coin or a fingernail to remove a layer of latex from the tickets. Rules printed on the tickets tell buyers whether they win.

Q: How much can I win?

The Carolina Cash game has the largest payout among the first four games. Tickets cost $5 and the top prize is $100,000, before taxes come out. The $2 game pays up to $21,000, and the top prize in the $1 game is $5,000.

The smallest prize in each game is a refund or a free ticket.

Q: Can I win more than $100,000?

Not yet. The lottery plans to join the multi-state Powerball game in late May, which gives ticket buyers the opportunity to win millions of dollars.

Q: Why do people call it the Education Lottery?

Because that's the official name. The Carolinas are the only two states that have included "education" as part of the formal name of their lotteries.

Q: How do I claim a prize?

Players who win less than $600 can get their winnings at any lottery retailer. Those who win prizes from $600 to $99,999 can claim their prize by mail or visit one of the lottery's regional offices. Those who win $100,000 or more have to claim their prize in Raleigh.

Q: Who gets the profit?

The money goes into the state's general coffers. State law says the money must go to four education programs -- prekindergarten instruction, reducing class size, school construction and college scholarships.

Q: So school bond proposals will disappear?

No. The money used to build schools won't fill the need, officials say. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, for instance, would get an estimated $18.25 million in the lottery's first full year. That's less than the cost of building one modern high school.

Q: Will lawmakers use the money for causes other than education?

We'll see. Critics have said the state will just spend money that currently goes to these programs elsewhere. The budget that Gov. Mike Easley and lawmakers propose this summer will spell out whether the lottery money boosts education spending beyond the increase they would have proposed without a lottery. Easley has said the state needs an N.C. constitutional amendment that would ensure the lottery money will add to education funding.

Q: Which state's lottery is better -- North Carolina or South Carolina?

At the N.C. lottery's launch, South Carolina will have more scratch-off lottery games, and some games offer larger prizes than in North Carolina. South Carolina also has numbers games that let players win larger jackpots by attempting to pick winning numbers. South Carolina's offerings include Powerball , a multi-state numbers game.

North Carolina will expand its scratch-off games. The state plans to add Powerball in late May and other numbers games in the fall.

Q: Will I have better odds of winning in North Carolina or South Carolina?

Each scratch-off game in the two states has different odds and different prize amounts. For Powerball, the odds of winning will be the same wherever the ticket is bought.

Q: What about gambling addiction?

North Carolina has set up a gambling addiction help line: (877) 718-5543.

Q: How can I get more information?

Each retailer should have handouts. You can also visit the lottery's Web site: www.nc-educationlottery.org

Charlotte Observer

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52 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by cps10.
Page 1 of 4
Avatar
New Member
Cary, NC
United States
Member #28706
December 21, 2005
4 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 30, 2006, 6:37 am - IP Logged

Went and picked up several of each ticket this morning. I guess we will see if I get lucky. Honestly, it is nice to finally be able to just walk into the store and grab some tickets without driving an hour and a half to one of the state's respective borders.

I am going to scratch my tix over the course of my radio show today.... If I hit the $100,000 I am going on vacation. In the middle of the show. :-)

    s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
    Hard Luck, Ak
    United States
    Member #23472
    October 13, 2005
    275 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 30, 2006, 6:43 am - IP Logged

    Went and picked up several of each ticket this morning. I guess we will see if I get lucky. Honestly, it is nice to finally be able to just walk into the store and grab some tickets without driving an hour and a half to one of the state's respective borders.

    I am going to scratch my tix over the course of my radio show today.... If I hit the $100,000 I am going on vacation. In the middle of the show. :-)

    Good Luck!, Let us know if you win!!

      Avatar
      Coastal Georgia
      United States
      Member #2653
      October 30, 2003
      1866 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 30, 2006, 7:10 am - IP Logged

      Wouldn't it have been ironic if they had waited one more day and started the games on April Fools Day ? I know this was done today for exactly that reason....

      Anyway, Good Luck to all NC players !!!

       

      DD

       

                                     

                    

       

       

        Avatar
        baton rouge
        United States
        Member #10797
        January 26, 2005
        85 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 30, 2006, 7:29 am - IP Logged

        Finally in NC hypocracy of Lottery is over and people and opponents who like it or not the looetry will see, watch and play the game.

         I had wished NC could have opted for the Mega Millon lottery instead of powerball which is next door in SC.

         Lottery opponents should give up their fight now and hope folks play Lottery sensibly.

         US Flag 

         

          Avatar
          New Member
          Cary, NC
          United States
          Member #28706
          December 21, 2005
          4 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 30, 2006, 7:53 am - IP Logged

          Here is the report...

           Just for info purposes, there had been 2 tickets taken off each roll when I got my tix at 6:00am.

           8 - $5 Carolina Cash Tix ($40) - Won $35 ($25 on one ticket)

          25 - $2 BlackJack ($50) - Won $22 ($11 on one ticket)

          25 - $1 Tic Tac Toe ($25) - Won $9 ($3 on 2 tix)

          25 - $1 NC Education Lottery Tix ($25) - Won $17 and 2 free Tix ($10 on one ticket)

           

          Grand Total was $140 spent and won back $83 + 2 Tickets.  I have personally enjoyed the Carolina Cash and the NCEL tix the most.  BlackJack wasn't doing it for me even though it offers lots of chances to win.

           On a side note, I did find the tickets easy to scratch, so that was nice.

          Out of other people scratching at the radio station this morning, $440 spent, Less than $200 won back. 

            Tenaj's avatar - michellea
            Charlotte NC
            United States
            Member #17406
            June 18, 2005
            4053 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 30, 2006, 8:11 am - IP Logged

            BananaCongratulations to the NC Lottery!

            takeemtothebank

              Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
              Chief Bottle Washer
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #1
              May 31, 2000
              23261 Posts
              Online
              Posted: March 30, 2006, 8:27 am - IP Logged

              Here is the report...

               Just for info purposes, there had been 2 tickets taken off each roll when I got my tix at 6:00am.

               8 - $5 Carolina Cash Tix ($40) - Won $35 ($25 on one ticket)

              25 - $2 BlackJack ($50) - Won $22 ($11 on one ticket)

              25 - $1 Tic Tac Toe ($25) - Won $9 ($3 on 2 tix)

              25 - $1 NC Education Lottery Tix ($25) - Won $17 and 2 free Tix ($10 on one ticket)

               

              Grand Total was $140 spent and won back $83 + 2 Tickets.  I have personally enjoyed the Carolina Cash and the NCEL tix the most.  BlackJack wasn't doing it for me even though it offers lots of chances to win.

               On a side note, I did find the tickets easy to scratch, so that was nice.

              Out of other people scratching at the radio station this morning, $440 spent, Less than $200 won back. 

              Thanks for the report, congrats on finally being able to buy lottery tickets in your state!

               

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

               

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

                Avatar
                north carolina/virginia
                United States
                Member #2097
                August 17, 2003
                126 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 30, 2006, 9:25 am - IP Logged

                Do you know if the codes on the NC tickets show winner or not? For example if you win $1.00 on a ticket, somewhere on the ticket you will see O-N-E.  Or if you win $500. somewhere on the ticket you will see F-I-V-H-N-D.  I notice in SC the tickets don't have the codes on the ticket, a winning ticket could have something like  Q-Z-R.

                  cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
                  The Carolinas - Charlotte
                  United States
                  Member #21627
                  September 12, 2005
                  4138 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 30, 2006, 9:41 am - IP Logged

                  Went and picked up several of each ticket this morning. I guess we will see if I get lucky. Honestly, it is nice to finally be able to just walk into the store and grab some tickets without driving an hour and a half to one of the state's respective borders.

                  I am going to scratch my tix over the course of my radio show today.... If I hit the $100,000 I am going on vacation. In the middle of the show. :-)

                  Agreed...I've got my $20 worth as well. Guess I made my voluntary UNTAXED contribution of $6 to the school systems.

                  Good luck Brian...

                  I used to listen to G105 back in the day when I was in school at UNC. Great station!

                  The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

                  Stooges

                    cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
                    The Carolinas - Charlotte
                    United States
                    Member #21627
                    September 12, 2005
                    4138 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: March 30, 2006, 9:42 am - IP Logged

                    pamelab

                    Actually the SC tickets that I have won with have the code. I imagine that NC's will as well. That's how they are universally made these days to prevent fraud I think.

                    The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

                    Stooges

                      cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
                      The Carolinas - Charlotte
                      United States
                      Member #21627
                      September 12, 2005
                      4138 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 30, 2006, 9:45 am - IP Logged

                      I agree...despite all of the shortcomings and buffoonerie that has been conveyed by the lottery board, I am happy that we have SOMETHING in this state. Powerball comes May 30.

                       I wish we had MM too, but oh well, beggars can't be choosers.

                      The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

                      Stooges

                        tc28376's avatar - 8ball
                        New Member
                        raeford nc
                        United States
                        Member #36228
                        March 29, 2006
                        4 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: March 30, 2006, 10:16 am - IP Logged

                        Hurray!PartyWE GOT IT YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

                        US Flagtc28376Hurray!

                          Avatar

                          United States
                          Member #26469
                          November 18, 2005
                          160 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: March 30, 2006, 10:23 am - IP Logged

                          Not to rain on this momentus day but,Robert Orr's group has filed the appeal yesterday to once again challenge the lottery.He wants to take his case straight to the NC Supreme Court this time.

                          One might guess that it would be an uphill battle for the NCICL after loosing in court already but stranger things have happened.If critics are right,there may not even be a state left to sue by then.Everyone knows how the lottery will distroy this state,lol.Perhaps the NC Supreme Court will reject Orr's appeal all together and send him away for the last time.We can hope.

                            cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
                            The Carolinas - Charlotte
                            United States
                            Member #21627
                            September 12, 2005
                            4138 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: March 30, 2006, 10:42 am - IP Logged

                            Lets hope so, NCPicks

                            The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

                            Stooges