Op-Ed

NC lottery offers chance to ‘Dream a little’

In this undated photo provided by the North Carolina Education Lottery, shows Powerball jackpot winner Marie Holmes, second from left, after she received a check from North Carolina Education Lottery executive director Alice Garland, second from right, in Raleigh, N.C. To the left is financial adviser Dexter Perry and attorney Charles Francis, right. Holmes, a single mother of four, came forward Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, as one of three winners in a huge Powerball jackpot drawn earlier this month.
In this undated photo provided by the North Carolina Education Lottery, shows Powerball jackpot winner Marie Holmes, second from left, after she received a check from North Carolina Education Lottery executive director Alice Garland, second from right, in Raleigh, N.C. To the left is financial adviser Dexter Perry and attorney Charles Francis, right. Holmes, a single mother of four, came forward Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, as one of three winners in a huge Powerball jackpot drawn earlier this month. AP

Perhaps it’s a dream of doing something fun, like learning to scuba dive or going to Disney. Maybe it’s a desire to help someone, through paying for a new kitchen for your mother or donating to a good cause. Or it could be giving someone the gift of education.

Over and over again, when you talk to someone about why they play the lottery, they mention they have fun thinking about what they would do if they win. They talk about their dreams.

Two dreams are realized with our state lottery. One dream comes from the fun North Carolinians have as they win prizes. Some prizes can change lives. Many others can make a day. The other dream rests on the extra money raised by the lottery to help make our state a better place.

The lottery’s new look captures these dreams. The familiar mountains to the sea scene, now graced with a shooting star, has a dreamy look and a slogan that announces to the viewer: “Dream a little.”

Why the dream theme? Essentially, a lottery is in the business of possibilities. Lottery games offer prizes that deliver some joy and thrill to winners, and along the way the dreams that fuel the fun raises millions for education.

As executive director of the lottery, I want you to know that the reveal of our new brand caps months of work to refresh our state lottery after its first 10 years of service to the state.

Your state lottery now runs on the newest and most advanced operating system of any lottery in the U.S. The system provides the technical infrastructure that supports lottery games and allows lottery ticket sales and payments of prizes to occur simultaneously at more than 6,850 retailers across North Carolina.

We hope the system also speeds up the sale of lottery tickets. The store’s printer is faster, and every store has a way to check your tickets to see if you have a winner. No need to stand in a line for that.

After 10 years, it’s clear that North Carolinians enjoy playing the lottery. Our sales show people voting with their dollars. Last year, lottery ticket sales averaged $6.5 million a day. Prizes won by North Carolinians averaged $4.1 million a day. And the amount of money raised for education hit a new record of $634 million, or $1.7 million on average a day.

All of the lottery earnings go to support education programs. It’s extra money adding to the tax dollars that make public education the biggest investment in the state budget.

Counties would like more money from the lottery to build and repair their schools. More lottery money for N.C. Pre-K would reduce waiting lists for those 4-year-olds who could use a stronger start in school. More money for scholarships and grants would help make college affordable for more of our young people. And more money would help our public schools achieve greater success in teaching our kids.

So far, the lottery has increased the money it has raised every year.

All good brands should have a purpose. Here’s ours: Playing and supporting the Education Lottery creates possibilities across our state. And through the fun of play and the billions raised for education, we provide the fuel for some of our most important dreams.

Alice Garland is the executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery.

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