Business, Economics and Jobs

Welfare lottery ban proposed in North Carolina


Debbie Nash fills out her lottery ticket at a Citgo gas station.


Tim Boyle

Does the lottery prey on poor people? North Carolina lawmakers say it does and are proposing some reforms.

One proposal is a ban on knowingly selling lottery tickets to people receiving welfare, food stamps, or other public assistance. "We're giving them welfare to help them live, and yet by selling them a ticket, we're taking away their money that is there to provide them the barest of necessities," Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam told the Raleigh News Observer. He said he believes that the lottery attracts many poor people who don't understand the odds.

He added that lottery advertisements boast of massive payouts, but fail to mention that the actual prizes are much smaller after taxes. "What they're talking about is making it a more honest lottery," he told the Observer.

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But the proposal isn't sitting well with many people. A major complaint is that the law would place the burden on store vendors to try to figure out whether or not their customers are on welfare. "I don't feel comfortable for somebody asking why or your financial things, so it's not my business," a store clerk told ABC11.

Another proposal would ban the word "education" from the NC Education Lottery to make its advertising more truthful, the Associated Press reported.