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N.C. Lottery spent $11 million on advertising

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: N.C. Lottery spent $11 million on advertising

RALEIGH, N.C. — You've seen them and heard them.

The cheesy game show character. The singing chorus. The ubiquitous billboards touting a big, life-changing jackpot. No one is immune from the state lottery's advertising efforts. And with good reason: In the last fiscal year, the lottery spent $10.9 million on advertising.

Spending records released through a public records request show that lottery officials seek to blanket the state's airwaves and dot its highways with the messages: Buy tickets that will benefit education and play responsibly.

"Awareness is key for increasing sales, which is key for raising money for education," said Tom Shaheen, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. "It's a presence of mind. People don't just decide they're going to buy lottery tickets. Something has to trigger that."

The lottery doesn't study the particular effects its ads have on consumer behavior. That would take more money, and the lottery's advertising budget is limited by law to 1 percent of gross ticket sales.

Shaheen says he's pretty sure the ads are working. Sales in fiscal year 2009 were 20 percent higher than in 2008, and advertising likely played a big part in that increase, he said. One man who won a big prize from the scratch-off ticket based on wrestler and North Carolina icon Ric Flair told Shaheen he bought a ticket because he saw the game's commercial featuring Flair.

Spending records show that in 2008 and 2009, the lottery focused ads most often on new scratch-off tickets, such as a Monopoly-themed game or a game that featured Harley Davidson motorcycles as a prize. Powerball ads were assembled when the jackpot reached the hundreds of millions.

The constant churning of new games and new ads is designed to keep players hooked, said Bill Brooks, president of the conservative N.C. Family Policy Council, which opposed the lottery.

"I see through the ads to the underbelly of gambling," Brooks said. "The legislature could say, 'We're not going to spend any money on advertising,' and that could mean more money could go to whatever needy purpose."

Chris Fitzsimon, director of the liberal-leaning N.C. Policy Watch, said the advertising spent to encourage lottery players would be no different than the state creating ads to sell more liquor, which is taxed by the state.

The lottery spent $928,000 creating its ads for the year. Getting those commercials and radio spots in front of eyes and ears cost a lot more.

Buying time on radio stations cost $2.1 million, including buys specifically targeting smaller market and minority-owned stations that might reach customers outside of the major markets.

Television buys of $5.9 million included broadcast and cable. The lottery spent $81,000 for a sponsorship on Fox Sports South.

Brooks said the lottery should not be placing ads with sporting events, where children are sure to see them.

"It just pushes that message out to a younger generation: that gambling is normal and it's what everybody does," Brooks said.

News & Observer

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5 comments. Last comment 7 years ago by Jordans121.
Page 1 of 1
dopey7719's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
Midlands, SC
United States
Member #69698
January 14, 2009
303 Posts
Posted: November 29, 2009, 4:43 pm - IP Logged

So this is why I'm hooked!  I've seen more lottery ads (in SC) than alcohol ads.  I've even seen NC ads here in SC.  Lottery ads play all day, whereas I think the alcohol ads are primarily at night. 

There have been times that I wasn't going to play and the lottery was the last thing on my mind while watching the 6:00 news.  But what happens while I'm getting the latest and waiting on the weather report?  A cute, colorful ad appears  to remind us to play Cash 5 or Mega Match or give a scratch-off for Christmas.  Then if I happen to go back out that evening, I remember the commercial and I play. 

They're a bunch of crooks....and I give willingly.  Bang Head

    Tenaj's avatar - michellea
    Charlotte NC
    United States
    Member #17406
    June 18, 2005
    4053 Posts
    Posted: November 29, 2009, 5:32 pm - IP Logged

    I would like to see the midday draw televised...and the evening draw much earlier than 11:22.  That would increase sales.  People like to see the drawings and they will tune in.  It's like the pick 3 evening draw is buried.


      tiggs95's avatar - Lottery-036.jpg

      United States
      Member #47420
      November 4, 2006
      3930 Posts
      Posted: November 29, 2009, 6:08 pm - IP Logged

      I live in Ky and they have the night draw at 10:55 pm..I have my TV set to tape it every draw and if I can't make it to 11 I watch it in the morning..We also don't have a midday draw here on TV..I wrote the lottery and told them it would be nice if they put the midday draw on TV and they said if I wanted to I could come to where the draw is and watch..It's only 3 hours away..

        charmed7's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg
        United States
        Member #65282
        September 22, 2008
        1992 Posts
        Posted: November 30, 2009, 8:45 pm - IP Logged

        Have a HUNCH.....WIN a bunch   I think advertisin is a good thing. NEVER know today might b your

        DAY!!!! just for passin by a Cash5 poster!

          Jordans121's avatar - nw bookeep.jpg

          United States
          Member #69169
          January 5, 2009
          2122 Posts
          Posted: December 1, 2009, 11:01 am - IP Logged

          i agree. that eve lottery is a killer.

          "Many Strategies|One Game"