North Carolina Family Policy Council
Seeing the Hispanic population as a largely untapped resource for lottery ticket sales, the North Carolina Lottery Commission is exploring ways to get around a law which directs that “No [lottery] advertising may intentionally target specific groups or economic classes.” In short, the lottery wants to tap into Hispanic markets more by promoting state-sponsored gambling on Spanish-speaking radio and television. The lottery advertising law, however, has created a seemingly inconvenient roadblock that lottery officials are trying to work around. Ultimately, during a meeting on December 3, the State Lottery Commission instructed staff to look into the matter and come back to the Commission with a recommendation that would allow legal Spanish-language advertising.
North Carolina Family Policy Council director of government relations John Rustin responded, “It is ironic that the Lottery Commission would seek a way around this law when the very same section of the statute says that ‘no advertising may have the primary purpose of inducing persons to participate in the Lottery.’ Inducing persons to gamble is exactly what lottery advertising is all about.”
In addition, at its December 3 meeting, the Lottery Commission approved the addition of a four-digit numbers game similar to the current “Carolina Pick 3” and “Carolina Cash 5.” According to lottery director Tom Shaheen, this game is scheduled to start some time after July 2009, but could go into effect sooner, especially if economic conditions drive down ticket sales. Overall, Shaheen reported that lottery revenues for the month of October were down six percent compared to September but were up 46 percent from October of last year. Much of this, according to Shaheen, was due to the state legislature’s passage of an amendment that allows the lottery to offer higher prize payouts. Incidentally, the prize payout increase is made possible by cutting the percentage of gross ticket sales that are dedicated to education programs in North Carolina.