The four horseman of the North Carolina Lottery continue to ride roughshod over the body politic:

Compulsion

Saw my first “problem gambling” commercial this evening on Channel 50 (Fox50). The station’s owner, Jim Goodmon, fought the lottery. That didn’t stop another of his Capital Broadcasting properties, WRAL, from bidding on and winning the $340,000 a year contract to produce the NC lottery nightly draw program.

The ad’s tagline? “Take back your family.”

Wouldn’t it be great to not put folks families in jeopardy in the first place?

Confusion

The News & Observer deserves kudos for their aptly titled story Your shot at big prize: microscopic covering this weeks NC lottery rollout of the multi-state State-sponsored con-game known as Powerball. As local SAS billionaire statistician Dr. Jim Goodnight noted last year: “It’s certainly the most unfair game ever devised by man.

Today’s N&O article points out

Powerball will lay the longest odds of any game offered in North Carolina’s lottery, which began with scratch-off tickets two months ago.

The number of winners might be a surprise, too: Only about one jackpot is won per month. The game has drawings twice a week and includes players from 28 other states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What kind of odds?

As they further note “The chance of hitting the jackpot is 1 in 146 million…It could be months, even years, before a North Carolinian wins the top prize…Colorado has yet to see a winner, nearly five years after the game started there…the New Mexico lottery..took four years after joining the game there before anyone won.”

What’s the chances the average lottery player understands the stacked odds?

Heck, we require clear,written disclosures for borrowing money, shouldn’t we require something similar for folks pissing gambling their hard-earned bucks away?

Corruption

The wheel continues to turn on the NC lottery corruption probes. May 23rd, as WRAL reported 3 Connected To Lottery Company Accused Of Lobbying Law Violations

A former political director for House Speaker Jim Black is among three people charged with illegally lobbying lawmakers to approve a state lottery in North Carolina, according to court documents released Monday. During last year’s debate at the General Assembly, all three were on the payroll of Scientific Games International, a leading supplier of scratch-off lottery tickets. After a seven-month investigation, Wake County prosecutors charged Meredith Norris with failing to register as a lobbyist with the Secretary of State’s office. She was a member of Black’s staff from 1999-2002, but quit to work as a lobbyist while staying with his campaign as a volunteer until late last summer.

The lottery, birthed in trickery, suffered corruption before even one ticket was sold.

Maybe we should change the State’s license plate motto from “First in Flight” to “First in Lottery Corruption”.

Compunction

The lottery program preys on folks dreams

“With Powerball, it has this glamour to it,” said state lottery director Tom Shaheen. “It has the big jackpots and the dream for people that maybe they can win.”

and promotes exagerated claims

Although billboards across the state will tout the top prize, winners typically end up with one-third that much, a review of past winnings in other states shows. That’s because the prize is adjusted into a lump sum of cash, which most players take, and then taxes are factored in.

while disingenously promising educational good deeds (good if you’re not a charter school or you ignore the nearly 1/3 income tax withheld from winnings that’s returned to the general fund or Easley’s recent misdirections or even Mecklenberg county’s attempt to use proceeds to fuel tax cuts).

Next year

  • after this fiasco has some time to play out,
  • after our State creates some NC families that need “taking back”,
  • after the corruption moves – as it always seems to do – into the periphery of the gaming apparatchik and
  • after all the well-expected legislative shenanigans redefining what “is” is as far as the use of these ill-gotten gains for education,

will those that voted the lottery into existence suffer even the smallest twinge of guilt?

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