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15 years of fun raises $8 billion for education in North Carolina

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Last Updated on March 30, 2021 1:10 pm

North Carolinians got their first chance to play the lottery 15 years ago on Tuesday – March 30, 2006 – and since then the fun and games have raised $8 billion for education programs in North Carolina.

At the current level of sales, the lottery raises on average $2 million a day for education.

Mark Michalko, executive director of the lottery, said the lottery’s record of success results directly from the strong support of North Carolinians who enjoy playing lottery games and winning prizes while at the same time helping a good cause – public education.

“Every ticket that is purchased provides money for education,” Michalko said. “We’re proud to play our part in supporting our students and schools and will work to continue this success for the next 15 years.”

This year, based on allocations made by the N.C. General Assembly, the money raised by the lottery supports the costs of school workers in all school systems; helps to build and repair schools in all 100 counties; helps to make college more affordable to students attending state universities and community colleges, supports the NC Pre-K program for at-risk four-year-olds, and helps cover the costs of school transportation. And under a new school construction program created four years ago, 30 counties in North Carolina have received grants of $10 million to $15 million to help build new schools.

Here are some highlights of the lottery’s first15 years:

• About 95 cents of every dollar spent on a lottery ticket cycles back into the state’s economy as either a prize, earnings for education, or a sales commission to a retailer.
• The most popular games are instant games with a total of 762 different scratch-off tickets so far.
• The lottery holds the highest level of responsible gaming certification recognized internationally and was the 4th U.S. lottery and the youngest at that time to meet the requirements for the certification.
• Total prizes won add up to an estimated $18 billion, including seven Powerball or Mega Million jackpot wins ranging from $12 million to $344.6 million.
• More than 7,100 retail locations across North Carolina, including some of the state’s most well-known retail brands, sell lottery tickets. That’s up from up 5,000 the day the lottery started.
• With $3 billion in annual revenues, the lottery has grown into one of the state's most successful sales and marketing organizations.

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