North Carolina Lawmaker Wants to Ban Welfare Recipients and Those in Bankruptcy from Purchasing Lottery Tickets

Rep. Paul Stam
Rep. Paul Stam

By Dawn Cranfield

North Carolina Lawmaker Wants to Ban Welfare Recipients and Those in Bankruptcy from Purchasing Lottery Tickets

North Carolina Republican Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam is sponsoring a piece of legislature that would penalize vendors who knowingly sell lottery tickets to welfare recipients and those who are in the midst of a bankruptcy.  The law is designed to ban those individuals from purchasing the “get rich quick” tickets” and would punish sellers if they did not comply.

Many retailers are opposing the proposed law and feel uncomfortable with being forced into a position to judge the financial status of their customers.  “Stam retorts that the law should only be enforced when it is obvious the person is on welfare – as when a person who wants to buy lottery tickets has just paid for other items at a store with food stamps or other obvious signs of the person being a welfare recipient.” (

While proposing the overhauling of his state’s lottery system, Stam would also like the word “education” removed from the program.  He believes the lottery is a “scam” and does not feel it is appropriate to have it associated with the education system.

With nearly 2 million people in North Carolina on government assistance, it is easy to see why Stam would be looking for a way to force recipients to live smarter on the money handed to them by the taxpayers of America.  However, Lottery imageis this the best use of his time?

When Stam himself states the law would only be enforced when it is obvious that a person is on welfare, it seems the point would be moot, as people would become crafty and make their purchases at a separate store or a different day.  Moreover, what of the individual in bankruptcy?  How would a clerk know about their status?  Perhaps, they would have a henna tattoo on their forehead that would wear out as soon as their bankruptcy was final and they were once again allowed to purchase the forbidden tickets.

If Stam is truly interested in preserving the integrity of the food stamp program, and the assistance as it was originally intended, maybe he could champion legislature that would limit types of items allowed at the grocery store.  Currently, the government allows soda, cookies, chips, and even energy drinks (as long as they have a nutrition label and not a supplemental list) to be purchased using a benefits card.  On their website, they opine that it is too difficult to distinguish between “good” and “bad” food; yet, we all learned in the fourth grade about the Food Pyramid and I do not recall energy drinks as a necessity.

welfareWhile I applaud those who are trying to do something to hold people accountable for the gifts they receive on behalf of the American workers, I feel this is the wrong fight.  There is lower hanging fruit on the tree of the dysfunctional welfare system.

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