Here's what Tom Shaheen, NC's Lottery Czar, said in September:
Lottery to phase in bigger instant-win prizes
N.C. Education Lottery Director Tom Shaheen said Wednesday that all scratch-off games for sale in North Carolina won't have bigger prize payouts until early spring of 2008. But more will be available in the next few months.
Instant-win games are a mainstay of the lottery, making up nearly 60 percent of tickets sold. But sales have lagged behind projections, in part because neighboring states offer better odds, Shaheen said. Even a $2 win helps drive regular players to buy more tickets, he said. "They want to win a prize," he said.
The legislature allowed the lottery to increase prize payouts -- and decrease the percentage of profits set aside for education -- in this year's budget.
Here's what a bunch of pointy-headed academics said, as reported in the New York Times today.
Lottery boon raises concern
But critics in Texas and elsewhere say games promising this kind of instant gratification are more likely to contribute to the kind of problem gambling that is usually associated with fast-paced casino betting, and they are now trying to limit them.
They say the games take particular advantage of the most vulnerable members of society, including the poor and members of minority groups. “Scratch-off tickets are to the lottery what crack is to cocaine,” said State Senator Eliot Shapleigh, a Democrat who represents El Paso.
We have known all along that state-sponsored gambling would become a perverted story of co-dependency between cowardly legislators who don't have the nerve to properly fund government services) and lower-income citizens who hope against hope that they'll strike it rich before they gamble themselves into into full-fledged poverty.