I’m in show business. And an important cog in that industry are critics. Because show business sells “art” – critics are like the Consumer Reports of the entertainment industry.
However, we producers have a common saying, “Critics’s opinions are like assholes; everyone has one.”
And in my opinion – the asshole of North Carolina is:
My proof? The crap (a.k.a. television and radio commercials) they spew upon the public:
I’m not alone in my critique.
One symbol which represents N.C. in the worst way is our current lottery logo. The mountains and lighthouse are child’s scribble. Our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains are mushy mounds of dirt. Our beach coast is a stack of bobby pins. North Carolina Education Lottery you are a winner in poor graphic design. Please play again.
Despite its clip art-inspired logo, the N.C. Education Lottery (NCEL) is a joke.The notion that the State is in the business of gambling, including a monopoly on lottery operations and a casino “pact” with the Cherokees, is laughable.
But why should N.C. have only one lottery? Surely the more lotteries available to state residents, the more money generated for education. That is exactly the reason why I am starting my own lottery — University Lotto. I registered the domain name myself.
It took decades of political wrangling for N.C. to begin its lottery operations. Mine – a few minutes and one click of the button.
I know what you are thinking – “Andrew, only the government can legally operate a lottery.” But where does it say that in the state constitution? I looked but I couldn’t find it. I did find a provision that states that a university education should be as free as practicable.
Despite all the rumors and supposed laws, “anyone” can start a lottery. Even if there was a prohibition on private lotteries, why should the state have a monopoly on fun? All types of traditional government functions are performed by private enterprise. There are private schools, universities and hospitals. And that’s not all. Even core government functions are executed by private organizations. There are at least four private correctional facilities in N.C. housing state and federal criminals. And more are being built. Private corporations can maintain law enforcement operations. Crabtree Valley Mall Police Department and the Biltmore Estate Company Police are good examples.
So you can see — just because the government normally carries out specific roles, there is ALWAYS room for someone in the private sector to do the same job. And do it better.
My lottery is very different from the NCEL — starting with the name. As the name implies, University Lotto will only assist N.C.’s higher education institutions, specifically need-based student financial aid. The NCEL also supports class size reductions, pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds and school construction. Additionally, during last year’s budget cycle, the NC General Assembly reallocated almost $30 million to Medicaid from lottery education distributions.
And in my opinion that number is too small, which is the reason why University Lotto is so critical to the state’s future.
In Georgia, the HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) scholarship program provides students with tuition, mandatory fees and books for attendance at any of the state’s public universities, colleges and technical schools.
Georgia’s HOPE program is funded entirely by the state’s education lottery. Since the state first began its lottery in 1993, more than $1.4 students have received more than $7 billion in scholarships.
The problem with Georgia’s plan is that it has done little to help the poorest attend college – Georgia has a lower college-going rate than N.C. Those students with a “B” average are more likely to come from moderate-to-upper-income families. In essence, the plan is paying the higher-education costs of those who can already afford it. That’s why profits from my lottery will go towards a need-based financial aid program.
Additionally, my private lottery won’t replace existing government funding sources. It wasn’t until 1999 that N.C. even had a need-based financial aid program. The financial need of students at N.C. State University alone is more money than lawmakers are willing to allocate.
More importantly, my lottery will not be in the business of funding the pet projects of elected officials like Governor Michael Easley’s “More-at-Four” program. Politicians are removed from the equation all together because University Lotto’s proceeds will go directly to the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC).
CFNC will administer the financial aid awards, which are determined via a formula. Since the NCEL funds other projects, like new school construction, lawmakers must make the decision about how to allocate the money. And believe me, N.C. lawmakers are not very good at doing much.
Because University Lotto is private and only available via the Internet, I will save millions on costly bureaucratic oversight and advertising. Not only will this increase player’s winnings, but it will also increase the available funds to support needy students and their families.
Competition is good. And I am proud that my private lottery will move the state forward in allowing every qualified citizen the opportunity to attend a higher education institution.
North Carolina could use a few more assholes raising money for education.