North Carolina Republican lawmakers have drafted legislation to ban welfare recipients from buying lottery tickets in the state.
According to the Raleigh News Observer, State House Majority Leader Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, a Republican from Wake, said he hopes to bring the proposal during the upcoming legislative session.
"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 said.
The bill would punish vendors for selling lottery tickets to someone who they know is on welfare or in bankruptcy, according to ABC11 in Raleigh.
That stipulation is not sitting well with some convenience store clerks that don't want to be left to enforce a new law.
"I don't feel comfortable for somebody ask why or your financial things, so it's not my business," Peace Street Market's clerk Aref Peroz said.
Stam acknowledged that lottery clerks may not always be able to tell if lottery players are on government assistance. 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.
Stam said the purpose of the ban was for the protection of consumers, whom he says fall prey to deceptive advertising by the lottery, which tends to attract lower-income people who don't understand that their chances of winning are slim.
According to North Carolina Policy watch, sales of lottery tickets are concentrated in impoverished counties, and that all but two of the 20 poorest counties have above-average ticket sales per capita, UPI writes.
North Carolina NAACP president the Rev. William Barber said new lottery laws will not help those on government assistance.
"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," said Barber.