Economy Down, Lottery Up
Special Report - July 11, 2009
The North Carolina Lottery experienced unexpected revenue growth for the second year in a row, while North Carolina’s unemployment rate rose into the top ten in the nation. According to the N.C. Employment Security Commission, the state’s unemployment rate hit a record 11.1 percent in May 2009, nearly double the 5.9 percent rate from May 2008. Meanwhile, the North Carolina Lottery exceeded projected fiscal year revenues by more than $25 million.
Lawmakers had been told to expect $385 million in lottery revenue transfers for educational purposes for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009. On July 1, 2009, the state lottery transferred almost $411 million of its $1.3 billion gross ticket sales to a special education fund. Since the lottery began in March 2006, it has grossed $3.4 billion in total sales and transferred $1.136 billion of that to finance public school renovations, college scholarships, class-size reduction, and the More at Four pre-kindergarten program.
“This is what you would expect in a recession as the poor and others gamble more,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “North Carolina is in the gambling business but there is nothing to celebrate when revenues go up. As time goes by we can expect to see gambling revenue go up as more citizens become compulsive gamblers.”
In related news, the Multi-State Lottery Association elected Tom Shaheen, director of North Carolina’s state lottery, as president. The Association consists of 32 lotteries. It exists to establish policies, oversee financials, approve new member lotteries, and run the nationwide Powerball game. Shaheen, who formerly served as CEO for the New Mexico Lottery Authority and executive vice president of operations and administration for the Georgia Lottery Corporation, plans to continue as director of the North Carolina lottery.
Lottery Sales Holding Steady - February 19, 2009
Lottery Revenues Up As Economy Slows - September 18, 2008
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