Updated 12/19/2010 05:01 PM
Report shows some poor counties have highest lottery sales
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HENDERSON, N.C. – The state's poorest counties are some of the biggest lottery consumers, according to a NC Policy Watch report.
The North Carolina policy think tank shows that adults are spending an average of $200 a year on lottery tickets, and it's the state's poorest counties that have the highest per capita lottery sales.
Vance County is one of top ten counties with the highest sales, which is why it was no surprise that Malcolm Brownson, a Henderson resident, is a regular when it comes to playing the lottery.
“I play every day trying to get rich, but I just haven't been lucky yet,” Brownson said.
While Vance County ranks among the top ten counties in per capita lottery sales, some of these counties are also some of the poorest including Washington, Tyrrell, Bertie and Egecombe.
Vance County sold about $488 worth of tickets per adult last year and who knows how much Brownson is spending.
“More than I'm making I'll tell you that,” Brownson said.
Brownson said he doesn't go beyond his means, which is more than Samy Hauter, the co-owner of a store two miles down the road, has said.
Hauter said he doesn't understand the risk customers willing to take.
“People keep on spending,” he said. “If they just keep it, they'll have more money than they would win.”
Even though there are some customers who win, there are plenty of others who don't, yet, some said they won't stop because it takes playing only one time before their lives change.
“They always come back because you always got that hope for a better life,” Morris Pendergrass, another store clerk, said.
It's that hope that keeps Brownson from giving up.
Although lottery ticket sales are higher in these counties, as a whole, North Carolina lottery commissioners say ticket sales have been weak this year. In fact, they have estimated that the program will earn $40 million less than expected, which is not a good sign from the education system that's already expecting budget cuts this year.