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N.C. Lottery lagging behind revenue estimates

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: N.C. Lottery lagging behind revenue estimates

Even with the big Powerball game, North Carolina lottery sales are still lagging behind state estimates.

Willie Scott is the state lottery's latest success story.

"I was praying for a financial blessing, and it came," he said.

Scott, a Roxboro father of six who just took a job as a prison guard, won an $800,000 jackpot Wednesday night. He says he does not throw much money in the lottery. In fact, Scott rarely plays.

"I've played the Powerball three times before that," he said.

The state's lottery commission already cut the lottery budget because of lower sales than state lawmakers originally expected. Even with the huge multi-state Powerball game over the last two months, sales are still more than 20 percent below already-reduced expectations. Lottery officials say the summer is always slow.

"Sales are not $100 million a month right now. I think we're at $79 million," said Tom Shaheen, the lottery's executive director. "But we anticipate picking that up in future months."

Outside a Raleigh mini-mart that sells lottery tickets, gardener Stanley Alston says he does not like to play.

"I've worked at several convenience stores, and I just feel like it's a gimmick," he said.

The lower sales numbers have some lottery critics saying the money fluctuates too much to fund ongoing school programs.

"What this says to me is [that it reinforces] what a lot of people were saying before we adopted the lottery, which is lottery revenue is incredibly hard to predict and fluctuates for a wide variety of factors," said Chris Fitzsimmon of N.C. Policy Watch. "The big danger is basing existing programs like More at Four and class-size reduction on money we can't predict."

Lottery officials praised Scott for not spending too much on the numbers game.

"It's always nice to hear that people bought just a couple of tickets," Shaheen said.


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9 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by Jbee!.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts
Posted: August 7, 2006, 12:14 pm - IP Logged

A low payout percentage hurts lottery sales, and the state makes less money than anticipated. The NY Lottery is finally finding out the hard way, via the 40% payout in NY Lotto.

    Coastal Georgia
    United States
    Member #2653
    October 30, 2003
    1866 Posts
    Posted: August 7, 2006, 1:05 pm - IP Logged

    I gotta believe the lack of pick 3 and 4 games is hurting the NC Lottery as well.

    What are they waiting for ?







      United States
      Member #26469
      November 18, 2005
      160 Posts
      Posted: August 7, 2006, 1:46 pm - IP Logged

      The NC lottery is currently accepting bids on the drawing machines and ball sets for the Pick 3 and Pick 5 games.The bids must be in before the end of September.The first game,Pick 3(I think) is scheduled to start in Oct.

       The info can be found on the lottery.nc.gov website.

        bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

        United States
        Member #12618
        March 18, 2005
        2060 Posts
        Posted: August 7, 2006, 4:11 pm - IP Logged

        I also think sales will improve once they get a Pick 3 game.

        Dance like no one is watching.

          cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
          The Carolinas - Charlotte
          United States
          Member #21627
          September 12, 2005
          4138 Posts
          Posted: August 8, 2006, 12:11 pm - IP Logged

          Without a doubt, the lack of a Daily Numbers game is going to keep a lot of people away. The high jackpot in Powerball recently helped sales a little bit, but also the discouraging news of no jackpot wins in NC and AGAIN in the Midwest keeps many people away from the lottery lines here in Charlotte, and that is based on people I have talked to around here.

          A daily numbers game is what players want here, and until they see that come to fruition, players will not spend so much on the lottery here as they thought.

          It would also help to have more imaginative scratch off tickets with a nice variety of prizes. Many of the top prize tiers on these scratchers are so unattainable for the common player IMHO.

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


            Northern California
            United States
            Member #19948
            August 9, 2005
            151 Posts
            Posted: August 8, 2006, 12:33 pm - IP Logged

            If they do numbers correctly, it should help - though I am not at all confident they can make up the shortfall in projected sales.


            It doesn't  do any good now - but sales projections are often (and apparently here in NC were) made by people with no background in lottery.  They take a recent start-up and say "here's what so-and-so did" and adjust for population and Viola! here is your set-in-stone sales goal.


            The other issues already raised (game mix, prize payout) are critical as well. In the past, when people were largely unexposed to lotteries, many states were able to begin sales with relatively low payout instants and reap a windfall. The novelty of the lottery was enough to keep people coming back. Now, only the reenforcement of "enough" wins will do that.


            The %'s to education, prizes & admin (more to prizes and less to education) will have to be adjusted for NC to be successful in the long term.  Schools spend dollars, not percentages. The more you give people in winnings, the more they will turn around and hand you the money back. The state will definitely make it up on volume, just like EVERY other state that has raised payouts.

              United States
              Member #379
              June 5, 2002
              11296 Posts
              Posted: August 8, 2006, 12:59 pm - IP Logged

              I'm not a numbers player, but I don't understand why Colorado has NEVER offered a pick-3 or pick-4. And CO has been selling tickets for over two decades.

                thinreality's avatar - Lottery-017.jpg
                United States
                Member #41356
                June 15, 2006
                27 Posts
                Posted: August 9, 2006, 5:12 am - IP Logged

                Yeah, I was funding the elementary school careers of several kids over the course of the last 3 draws or so, but I'm taking a break.  Not winning much does have a stifling effect on one's enthusiasm for playing.  All things in moderation.

                The lottery critics need to back off.  $79 million dollars a month isn't chicken scratch. As for running education on a constantly fluctuating budget, state-run colleges have been operating that way for a very long time.  I know of one college here in NC where a couple of departments have to scrounge technology equipment from other departments because the funding just isn't there to replace what they have.  And it doesn't seem like what money these colleges have are pouring into staff salaries either.  I've seen jobs posted that required a masters degree and the job paid about 10k more than what janitors make (and they make just above the federal poverty level for a family of four).  And don't get me started about the condition of some of the buildings on these campuses.

                 Unfortunately, the only mention I've heard of lottery proceeds and colleges in the same sentence was regarding the college scholarships for students and I'm not convinced that's going to help the colleges as much as a fresh infusion of cash that isn't dependent on someone deciding to go to school.

                It's called 'playing' numbers because it's FUN!

                  United States
                  Member #44263
                  August 1, 2006
                  4 Posts
                  Posted: August 10, 2006, 6:47 pm - IP Logged

                  NC is now advertising the upcoming games:

                  In October, the lottery expects to add a Pick 3 game with a top prize of $500.

                  In November, the lottery intends to add a Pick 5 game that has a top prize of at least $50,000.

                  CAROLINA PICK 3

                  HOW TO PLAY: Players choose a three-digit number from 000 to 999. The lottery draws three individual numbers to form the winning number.

                  HOW TO WIN: Matching the drawn numbers in the exact order drawn or in any order.

                  TICKET COST: 50 cents and $1.

                  PRIZES: A $1 winning ticket pays from $40 to $500. A 50-cent ticket pays $40 to $250.

                  ODDS OF WINNING THE TOP PRIZE: 1 in 1,000.

                  ESTIMATED YEARLY SALES: $260 million.

                  CAROLINA CASH 5

                  HOW TO PLAY: Players choose five numbers out of 39. The lottery draws five numbers to form the winning combination.

                  HOW TO WIN: Match two, three, four or five of the drawn numbers.

                  TICKET COST: $1.

                  PRIZES: Matching two numbers pays $1; matching three pays $10; matching four pays $250; matching all five pays at least $50,000.

                  The prizes can be shared in the event of multiple winners. The jackpot grows if no one wins, up to $720,000.

                  ODDS OF WINNING THE TOP PRIZE: 1 in 575,757. (Powerball jackpot odds are 1 in 146 million.)

                  ESTIMATED YEARLY SALES: $52 million.