The start up of North Carolina's first-ever lottery is meant to help fund education across the state. When State School Board Chair Howard Lee bought the very first scratch-off lottery ticket in March, he hailed it as a great day for education.
"The tickets will be winners for each child in the state of North Carolina who will benefit from the proceeds from the lottery," Lee said.
Fifty percent of proceeds go to reducing class size and early education. Forty percent helps school construction and the last 10 percent goes toward scholarships.
Senior political reporter Tim Boyum has a look back at the start up of North Carolina's first-ever lottery.
But players were just ready to play the games.
"It's my money I make so this is how I want to spend it and it helps the kids," said player Johnny Smith.
"We're excited, we're going to get more business because of lottery," said store owner Sanjay Patel.
"This has been an extremely smooth start-up," NC Lottery Executive Director Tom Shaheen said. "Sure there's been a few ticket deliveries that didn't happen. All the terminals are up and running, so I think it's been a great start-up."
Two months later the state joined Powerball.
"It's a chance, it's a game of chance, but if lightening strikes, it strikes, you know," said Powerball player Jimmy Wright.
"I'll play my birthday, stuff like that," added player Robert Kearney. "That's how I get mine or either let the machine pick 'em."
The state had high expectations but by summer they had to lower expectations as sales slowed down.
"I think we've got a better picture of how things will do in probably at about January," Shaheen continued. "We'll have a good idea. Our fiscal year ends in June so we'll be six months in and we'll have a good idea about where sales are going to end up then."
Shaheen hoped the addition of the pick 'em style drawing games this fall will boost sales to help meet the $400 million plus expectation for education. They are expectations that will likely continue to grow in 2007.
Several lawmakers are working to change the law to fund public construction more. However, Governor Mike Easley prefers the current funding formula.