Lawmakers in Raleigh are considering changes to the N.C. Education Lottery, some of which will be easier to do than others.
The Telegram has long decried the North Carolina lottery and the way it became law in this state.
That is why one proposal to remove the word “Education” from the name of the N.C. Education Lottery aims to avoid giving anyone the idea that a majority of the state’s education funding comes from the lottery.
The name is obviously a marketing gimmick, so changing the name to the North Carolina Lottery would be more honest. If it has the added benefit of curbing sales, then so be it.
There also has been talk of making lottery advertising more straightforward when it comes to reporting the chances of winning and how much winners will receive.
Large jackpots are reported in large numbers, but there is little mention of just how much state and federal taxes will eat into those winnings. Even worse, the odds of winning can only be found online at the lottery’s website or a few other select locations. The state lottery does print the odds of winning a break-even prize on each ticket, at least.
But to give an example, the Powerball lottery ticket costs $2 to $3, depending on the type. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510. That doesn’t seem to be a big part of any ad campaign.
Other proposals will be much more difficult, if not outright impossible, to enforce. N.C. Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Wake, said the state should consider prohibiting sales of lottery tickets to people who receive public assistance or who are in bankruptcy.
Since state food stamp benefits are handled by Electronic Benefit Transfer cards similar to debit cards, there could be a law baring those from being used to buy tickets. There already is such a law that prevent credit cards from being used for lottery tickets. Stores can refuse debit cards for such sales. But let’s not force cashiers to police which adults are allowed to buy which products.
These rules and discussions basically pretend that lottery tickets are a good use of money for some people but not for others.