There’s a lot of talk about the state lottery since Gov. McCrory told Monday night’s State of the State audience that lottery revenues should be looked at to ensure they’re going to fund education. He also singled out the lottery’s advertising. I’m on board with the idea of scrutinizing lottery revenues and operations, but I wish the governor would address the broader issue of a government endorsed, government-run lottery. The fact that the lottery exists at all is bad policy.
First, the state’s gambling policy is schizophrenic, as evidenced by efforts to stamp out internet sweepstakes/video poker. The policy amounts to this: state lottery good, other gambling bad. Obviously the state doesn’t want competition for entertainment dollars. Thus, if the state wants gambling revenue, the governor and General Assembly should end the lottery altogether and invite private gambling operations to come to North Carolina and create jobs and pay taxes. State government should stick to core services — and being in the gambling business isn’t one of them.