The N.C. Education Lottery raised - for the first time ever - more than $1 billion in a single year for public education programs in North Carolina.
The record earnings for education, announced Wednesday at a meeting of the N.C. Education Lottery Commission, resulted from lottery ticket sales in fiscal year 2023. The achievement put the lottery into an elite group of only 10 others in the U.S. that have raised in a single year $1 billion or more for their good causes.
Along the way, the lottery also crossed the milestone of raising $10 billion for the state since it started in 2006. Other records set, based on final but unaudited results, included:
• Record sales of $4.3 billion, or $11.9 million a day on average.
• Record prizes of $2.8 billion, or $7.8 million a day on average.
• Record commission and incentives to retailers of $295.2 million.
“This milestone was achieved through the tremendous effort of the most talented and dedicated lottery team in the nation,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “Their incredible commitment to the lottery’s mission of raising maximum revenue for education stays at the forefront of everything they do each and every day. Every dollar raised goes to education and the investment pays dividends for students for years to come.”
The lottery not only met but exceeded the $885 million goal set for it by the state. Forty percent of those funds went into school construction and repair programs. The additional $130 million raised by the lottery is allocated under the law to help counties build new public schools through the Needs-Based Public School Building Capital Fund.
Counties are building new schools all across the state with help from lottery funds. In August, both the new Wilson Academy of Applied Technology and the new Cherokee County Schools of Innovation opened, and on Thursday a ribbon-cutting for the new Northwest Harnett Elementary School is scheduled. Last September, the state announced $300 million in grants of lottery funds including $47 million for a new Alleghany County high school; $50 million for a new Greene County high school; and $50 million for a new intermediate school in Perquimans County.
The additional dollars support education programs in all 100 counties of the state, as determined by legislators in the state budget. Besides helping to build and repair schools, the money last year helped:
• Make college more affordable through scholarships and grants based on financial need.
• Support school systems with the costs of school staff and transportation.
• Provide a free, academic preschool to at-risk four-year-olds in the NC Pre-K program.