Legislators to ban welfare recipients from buying lottery tickets

Legislators in the NC House have discussed how to draft legislation to ban welfare recipients or those in bankruptcy from purchasing a lottery ticket.  In theory this is a great idea.  The working taxpayer gives a portion of their paycheck which eventually gets turned into food stamps or welfare aid for a majority of people that don’t need it.  The problem lawmakers are facing is how to regulate this and how to allow retailers to know if the person is on welfare or not at the time of purchase.  Rep Skip Stam (R) said, “it would be difficult for store clerks to know which players get help. But Stam suggested that in obvious cases, such as when customers pay for groceries with food stamps, they shouldn’t be allowed to buy lottery tickets at the same time.”


Sarah Curry

Sarah Curry is Director of Fiscal Policy Studies at the John Locke Foundation.

Reader Comments

  • Jon Sanders

    You know what else would stop poor people from blowing their money on the state lottery? Getting rid of the damned thing entirely. When I studied it, I found that poverty, unemployment, and property tax rates were the best predictors of a county’s lottery sales, and eight of the top ten counties in lottery sales per adult were among the most economically distressed counties in the state.

  • NCPolitics

    The quickest and easiest way to solve this problem. If you are on Government welfare, you aren’t allowed to collect any winnings. Therefore, defeating the purpose of playing to begin with.

  • rjansen.nc

    I am fine with the idea of government placing some controls over how taxpayer money is spent when it is provided to those in need through welfare programs. However, I am concerned about government placing restrictions over what someone in bankruptcy is allowed to spend their own money on. I believe that is an overreach. Also, very hard to enforce. Great article, Sarah!