Here's what Tom Shaheen, NC's Lottery Czar, said in September:
Lottery to phase in bigger instant-win prizes
N.C. Education Lottery Director Tom Shaheen said Wednesday that all scratch-off games for sale in North Carolina won't have bigger prize payouts until early spring of 2008. But more will be available in the next few months.
Instant-win games are a mainstay of the lottery, making up nearly 60 percent of tickets sold. But sales have lagged behind projections, in part because neighboring states offer better odds, Shaheen said. Even a $2 win helps drive regular players to buy more tickets, he said. "They want to win a prize," he said.
The legislature allowed the lottery to increase prize payouts -- and decrease the percentage of profits set aside for education -- in this year's budget.
Here's what a bunch of pointy- headed academics said, as reported in the New York Times today.
Lottery boon raises concern
But critics in Texas and elsewhere say games promising this kind of instant gratification are more likely to contribute to the kind of problem gambling that is usually associated with fast-paced casino betting, and they are now trying to limit them.