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TV network chosen to air N.C. Lottery drawings

May 18, 2006, 9:39 am

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North Carolina Lottery

The Triangle's CBS affiliate has been chosen to produce and air the nightly number drawings for the North Carolina Education Lottery, with the first lottery broadcast coming later this month with a drawing for the multi-state Powerball game.

WRAL-TV in Raleigh won out over WTVD-TV in Durham for the right to show the drawings on its station and provide it to other television outlets statewide. WRAL was the choice of an evaluation committee and executive director Tom Shaheen.

The N.C. Education Lottery Commission approved the three-year deal Tuesday. WRAL will provide the television studio and other equipment to produce the one-minute nightly drawing for the state's numbers games when they begin this fall. The lottery will operate the actual drawings.

WRAL also will air the twice-weekly drawings for the Powerball game, which are received via satellite from out of state. The North Carolina lottery will begin selling Powerball tickets May 30.

In exchange, the station offered $1.7 million in annual promotions about the games and its link to WRAL. The lottery commission also intends to give WRAL more than half of the television ads it intends to air in the Raleigh-Durham market, Shaheen said.

WRAL is owned by Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting Co., whose president is Jim Goodmon, an ardent lottery opponent during the debate leading up to passage of the games last August.

Capitol Broadcasting already airs the South Carolina Education Lottery drawing on WMYT in Charlotte and produced a similar lottery drawing show for the Hoosier Lottery when it owned a station in Indianapolis, WRAL general manager Jim Hefner said.

"As a matter of public policy, we did object to the lottery," Hefner said. "But the lottery is reality and it is here, and we're going to participate in it."

The lottery commission is negotiating with stations in other North Carolina markets to air the WRAL drawings, Shaheen said. But the lottery currently has found no outlets in the Charlotte, Wilmington and Asheville TV markets, he said.

The lottery commission also agreed Tuesday to allow lottery employees to purchase Powerball outside of North Carolina and lottery tickets from other states.

In a provision designed to prevent the appearance of favoritism, the lottery law prohibits all lottery employees, commission members and Shaheen — or members of their households — from buying North Carolina tickets or winning prizes.

Shaheen will remain barred from purchasing out-of-state Powerball tickets.

Shaheen said the lottery has generated $141 million in sales at more than 5,000 retailers since they began selling scratch-off tickets March 30. He said he hopes gross revenues will reach $200 million by the end of June.

The lottery introduced another instant-win game Tuesday — a bingo-type game with a top prize of $35,000.

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