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John Oliver takes aim at state lotteries, NC’s lottery gets its own put-down from comedian

Comedian John Oliver took on (and sunk) the idea that state lotteries responsibly and effectively fund public education, when he focused on state lotteries this weekend on his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight.”

North Carolina’s education lottery got a substantial mention (at the 11:30 minute mark) when Oliver pointed out North Carolina spends less per pupil today then it did when the lottery started in 2006.

Take a look here.

 

And if you’d like to walk down memory lane with some of the reporting N.C Policy Watch has done on the state lottery, you can click here to read a 2012 report about how per capita lottery sales spike in some of the state’s poorest counties.

2 Comments


  1. Jim Wiseman

    November 10, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    The lottery just offsets education money and frees it to be spent on other things; it isn’t a supplement. This has been true from the beginning. And with the number of low income players, lotteries are just a tax on “poor people.”

  2. M. Manning

    November 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    John Oliver is surely right about the inability of lotteries to effectively fund public education. In high poverty, rural, remote Tyrrell County, 2012 statistics showed that $1.01 million was spent on lottery tickets; this in a county with only 3,612 adults. Oliver aptly notes that former Governor Easley’s claim a decade ago at the inception of the “NC Education Lottery,” that it would add half a billion dollars to education annually, has not come to fruition. North Carolina spends less per students now that it did prior to the lottery. At my small high school, this translates to the loss of over 15 positions over the past ten years, including a media coordinator. Voters should demand a full accounting of where lottery funds are going. At the very least, a significant portion of lottery purchases should be returned to the counties where the purchases are made, so that the gamblers are contributing to their own children’s schools with their lottery tickets as promised.

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