Today’s Charlotte Observer opines:

What’s that? The North Carolina Education Lottery has supplanted, not supplemented, state K-12 education spending? North Carolina now spends less on K-12 education than before the lottery began in 2005? And education’s share of the “education” lottery has dropped from its promised 35 percent share to 29 percent?

Who would have believed it?

Well, plenty of people did, including us.

Me, too — see my Spotlight paper “Just Not Worth the Gamble” from February for more details. Some highlights:

  • The North Carolina Education Lottery was sold as a way to boost education spending in this state, but research shows that has been a false promise of education lotteries: states without education lotteries maintained and increased education spending more than states with lotteries.
  • N.C. boasts the same problem found in other lottery states: a declining rate of spending for education, especially in comparison with the rest of the state budget.
  • Lottery funds replacing rather than supplementing education spending has been a problem in North Carolina since before the first lottery ticket was even sold.
  • Poverty, unemployment, and property tax rates remain the best predictors of a county’s lottery sales.
  • Eight of the top ten counties in lottery sales per adult were among the most economically distressed counties in the state.