Report shows N.C. lottery sales thrive in the state’s poorest counties
Of the $1.4 billion spent on the lottery tickets and numbers games in the 2009-10 fiscal year, the most avid buyers were concentrated in high poverty counties in eastern North Carolina, the report said.
The report, written by Sarah Ovaska, shows that in the state’s 20 poorest counties, 18 had lottery sales topping the statewide average of $200 per adult. In Lenoir County, for instance, where nearly one in every four residents is below the poverty line, the average spent on the lottery per adult was $423.92.
The lottery was created in 2005 after Gov. Bev Perdue cast the deciding vote in her former role as lieutenant governor. Perdue is now considering pushing for legalization of video poker to increase state revenues.
The report’s findings support critics who argue that state-sponsored gambling attracts the economically desperate and serves in effect as “a tax on the poor.”
Alice Garland, the lottery’s director, told NC Policy Watch that the lottery does not promote sales among any particular group.
“We’ve never tried to target any group or any players,” Garland said. “Our philosophy is that we’d like to get as many people that play a little bit as we can.”
The report includes an interactive guide to lottery sales in each North Carolina county compared to each county’s poverty rate.
NC Policy Watch is an independent project of the NC Justice Center, North Carolina’s leading private, nonprofit anti-poverty organization.
[...] A new report from NC Policy Watch shows that North Carolina lottery sales tend to be higher per capita in counties where poverty is also high. Read the full story here. [...]