NC Lottery celebrates 5 year anniversary

RALEIGH Each year, lottery officials say more and more people are playing the lottery hoping to win big. So where is all that money going?

In January, the Education Fund got $102 million from the state lottery -- $3 million more than education got last quarter.

And now a new Luck-E-Zone program could drive thousands of lottery fans to a new website.

"They have a chance to learn more about the lottery and get the results the way they want to get them," said Van Denton with the North Carolina Education Lottery.

But the first 10,000 people to sign-up at Luck-E-Zone could win a netbook and there are plans to develop a player's reward program, under the Luck-E-Zone logo.

Critics argue new lottery programs are meant to increase sales, taking a financial and emotional toll on its most vulnerable players.

"It reaches out, I would suggest, to young people who's more savvy about the Internet," Rev. Mark Creech said. "Gambling proponents are extremely savvy about how to recruit new gamblers and new players."

Still, lottery officials insist with Luck-E-Zone, you don't have to pay to play.

"People who play the lottery should be spending their entertainment money, it should be discretionary spending," Denton said.

Creech says lottery players are buying hope, but they won't find it.

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