Too early to panic?

I may have promised I'd never write another lottery post, but the recent news about the shortfall in gambling revenues cannot go unnoticed. North Carolina is facing a potential $200 million problem around funding education because not enough good people in our state have been seduced by the siren song of easy money.

Even as players lined up across North Carolina last week to drop their dollars on chances at a big Powerball jackpot, officials acknowledged the new state lottery has a $200 million problem. Overall sales for the games' first fiscal year are expected to miss the goal by at least that much, adding significant financial pressure to education programs that the lottery was created in 2005 to support.

With half the fiscal year over, officials have blamed lower-than-expected sales on months of small Powerball prizes, high gas prices, a tight economy -- even the chemical fire in suburban Apex last year.

"It's up to the people now," lottery director Tom Shaheen said in an interview. "It really is. And they're either going to play or they're not going to play."

That's great, Shaheen. You got your big bonus for slamming the lottery into place in record time. And now you're making excuses - blaming everything except the fundamental idiocy of your chosen business - for coming up short.

The shortfall will be felt. Instead of returning $425 million to education in the first year, the lottery is expected to bring in closer to $350 million for those efforts. Legislators and the Easley administration haven't outlined how they will deal with the shortfall.

"It's too early to panic," said Dan Gerlach, Easley's senior budget adviser.

Too early to panic? I suggest that permanent panic may be in order. Because this sorry situation is the inevitable consequence of policy makers who don't have the backbone to fund public services honestly. Everyone from Easley on down have bet the education of our children on the willingness of citizens to pour their hard-earned money into bullshit games of chance.

Could it be that the people of North Carolina are smarter than their so-called leaders? Sure looks that way to me.

Comments

Maybe we're doing better...

in math education than we realized.

That's a good one!

At least we're doing better than South Carolina, for sure.

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We are not amused.

As a matter of fact

NOBODY in this family has bought a ticket.

Lovex7

Your next career

is in comedy. Good answer.

the Unemployed Aint Playin No Lotto, Mon

the Easley Administration hasnt been straight with the public about the true unemployment rate here in NC. those with no weekly or monthly paycheck arent gonna waste their money on the lottery.

I buy lottery tickets

Albeit only once in a long while OR when the powerball is quite high.

But hey apparently being all high and mighty on others isn't just a pre-resiqute to being a Republican.

My concerns over this shortfall perhaps are not logged into idelogocial "we told you so's", but legislative questions.

Why were special programs created with the sole funding of lottery revenue?
Lottery revenue is not like income taxes, where you know what you will recieve year after year.

Or are these special programs just more of existing education programs?

Because if that is the case, which in my opinion should be, than there is $350 million towards education. Sure some goes to this, some goes to that. But still there's $350 million towards our 45th in the nation failing school systems.

The "lottery tax" goes to education, which is far better than other "sin taxes" of drinking, smoking, and CO2 polluting. If you want to bitch about equality and fairness, start there.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Hey! I am helping as much as I can!

I get a ticket also when it gets very high, but my purchases won't build a school anytime soon.

I did a whole series on the lottery for Town Called Dobson, not as polished as the stuff I do now, but I think I captured the insane flavor of it. Click the link below to go to the first page.

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Town Called Dobson - Daily Political Cartoon: Not all is red in rural America!

I always liked the 2nd one

Woohoo I won 3 bucks! :) Priceless.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Here is Winston and Lewisville, it ws just about like that.

The convenience store up the street from me (and across the street from the church) was packed. I actually saw people walk from the church parking lot, enter the store, then go into the church.

The same church early had signs up that denounced the lottery.

Amazing.

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Town Called Dobson - Daily Political Cartoon: Not all is red in rural America!

Their biggest argument against the lottery was that it would

hurt the poor. Always made me wonder when they became so concerned about the poor.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Religion.

It comes down to religion for the right.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Advertising

I know the article says the lottery spends a typical amount (for lotteries) on advertising, but it sure doesn't seem like they are advertising much. Even when they do advertise, it is hobbled by the requirement that lottery advertising not encourage people to play.

Maybe I'm not the target audience.

Other things in the advertising budget.

Other things in the ad budget would probably include...

in-store displays
signage
brochures
press releases
lottery website
those big-assed computerized lotto billboards that you see all over the state
broadcast radio commercials
broadcast tv commercials
newspaper/magazine ads

And that is just off the top of my head what an agency might be doing for them.

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Town Called Dobson - Daily Political Cartoon: Not all is red in rural America!