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Charlotte wants limits on N.C. lottery sales

Oct 26, 2005, 12:33 pm

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North Carolina Lottery

Charlotte leaders have asked North Carolina's new lottery commission to approve unusual rules that would limit ticket sales in "fragile" neighborhoods.

In a letter sent to commission members, city attorney Mac McCarley asked them to get feedback from local governments before determining whether ticket outlets are appropriate in certain areas.

He also asked that lottery outlets be at least 50 feet from a church or school.

"We don't want any business to become a magnet for trouble in the neighborhoods we've identified as fragile and threatened," McCarley said.

He said the city believes the most crucial factor is that stores be required to sell more than just tickets and alcohol, with at least half of sales coming from other items.

The suggested rules, which mirror those governing North Carolina's beer and wine sales, would be unusual for a state lottery, said officials with two national trade groups. In South Carolina, for example, lottery tickets can be sold anywhere except on college campuses, at rest areas and in some types of check-cashing outlets.

"Lottery ticket sales don't usually cause those kinds of issues or concerns," said Chuck Strutt, executive director of multi-state lottery commission.

The N.C. lottery commission meets today to start discussing what restrictions — if any — it should place on retail outlets.

Several commissioners this week said they liked Charlotte's ideas and plan to consider them.

Commission member Kevin Geddings of Charlotte noted that it would be an easy system to implement quickly because it's tried and proven.

Lottery Recommendations

When choosing lottery outlets, Charlotte officials asked the lottery commission to consider:

  • The number of places already selling tickets in the neighborhood.
  • Parking and traffic conditions.
  • The kinds of businesses in the neighborhood.
  • Whether it's within 50 feet of a church or school.
  • Whether the building complies with building and fire codes.
  • The reputation, character and criminal record of the retailer.
  • Recommendations of the local governing body.
  • Zoning laws.

The city also recommended that:

  • Contracts be revoked from any retailer with more than 50 percent of sales from the lottery, or the lottery plus beer and wine sales.
  • A portion of lottery sales proceeds be shared with local law enforcement to cover increased costs associated with lottery activity. (To come out of the lottery's administrative fund, not the money designated for education.)

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