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Judge Dismisses Lottery Lawsuit

(3-21-06) A state Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit about the new state lottery. The judge ruled Tuesday that the lottery is not a tax, and was legally approved by the state Legislature. Wake County Judge Henry Hight says the lottery can start on schedule next week. Lottery opponents had argued in court that the state shouldn't be allowed to start selling tickets because the General Assembly illegally pushed through the law creating the game. The plaintiffs contended that the lottery is a tax since at least 35 cents of every dollar generated by the games are earmarked for education. They said the House and Senate each failed to hold two roll-call votes on separate days for the bill creating the lottery. Separate roll-call votes are required to approve taxes. The attorney who led the opponents, Robert Orr, says he's talking to his clients about their next step. The sale of scratch-off tickets is scheduled to begin March 30.