NC lawmakers discuss ways to get more lottery money to education

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – State lawmakers say the time is right to look at ways to have the North Carolina Education Lottery bring more money to education.

While they agree they’d like to see more go to education, how to do it has state’s leaders split.

It’s been a little more than a decade since North Carolina lawmakers voted to establish the lottery and it has steadily brought more money to schools.

In the last fiscal year, the lottery brought in $622.5 million, nearly double the amount of money it brought in 10 years ago.

“Despite the fact that folks think that everybody knows that we have a lottery, we have a commercial product out there and we need to let folks know,” said Alice Garland, executive director, North Carolina Education Lottery.

Garland was there Monday as state lawmakers opened a discussion about ways for the lottery to bring more money to North Carolina schools.

The topic is before the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee.

Garland told CBS North Carolina one way is to increase the money is to increase the advertising budget.

“We spend virtually no money, other than our billboards, on our draw games and we would love to have enough advertising money that we could get the draw game message out there,” said Garland.

“I think it’s a bad idea, but I think if they want to do it they need to take it from their prizes,” said Rep. Pat Hurley, (R-Randolph).

Hurley told CBS North Carolina she would rather see the lottery take more money from its operating costs than to increase the advertising budget.

“We don’t need to encourage gambling more and more and more,” she said. “It’s getting saturated all over the state now with the Keno and everything else,” referring to the Keno games North Carolina began offering last year.

Garland said there are options for expanding game offerings and responded to concerns about increased advertising.

“We are very careful about our message,” she said. “We tend to go toward humor. So, it’s very responsible messaging.”

State lawmakers will continue their discussion next month.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:

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