North Carolina Rep. Paul Stam says customers who use food stamps to pay for groceries shouldn't be allowed to buy lottery tickets at the same time.
People on welfare wouldn't be allowed to buy lottery tickets if a North Carolina state lawmaker had his way.
Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, is backing a proposal to ban lottery retailers from knowingly selling tickets to customers who receive public assistance, such as food stamps, or are in bankruptcy, according to the Raleigh The News & Observer’s Under the Dome blog.
"We're giving them welfare to help them live, and yet by selling them a ticket, we're taking away their money that is there to provide them the barest of necessities," Stam was quoted as saying.
How would retailers know if a person wanting to buy a ticket is on public assistance?
Stam acknowledges that won't be easy to determine. But he says if customers are paying for groceries with food stamps, for example, they shouldn't be allowed to buy lottery tickets at the same time.
He says many people who are attracted to the lottery don't have much disposable cash and may not understand the odds of winning are stacked against them.
Not everyone is keen on Stam's idea.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said lawmakers should focus on wages instead of new lottery laws.
"The NAACP, we didn’t agree with the lottery to start with. Rather than Mr. Stam having a side argument, ask him to stop blocking labor rights for poor people and working people. Ask him to have a real conversation about real wage."
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