Originally created 01/24/02

Lottery-seekers cross border



FORT MILL, S.C. - Although no one can say for certain why the top four retailers of South Carolina lottery tickets are in York County, the stores credit North Carolinians crossing the border to try their luck.

In fact, 24 of South Carolina's top 25 sellers are within nine miles of the North Carolina border.

Ten of the top sellers are in York County, four are in Marlboro County, three are in Cherokee County, and one is in Lancaster County.

"Customers from North Carolina are an extremely significant part of that," said Joe Miller, the manager of the Circle K on Carowinds Boulevard.

Located on Interstate 77's first South Carolina exit, the store sold $115,800 worth of the $1 and $2 tickets in the first 10 days. The lottery kicked off Jan. 7.

A half-mile away on U.S. Highway 21, Red Rocket Fireworks was a close second for top-seller honors, with $115,200.

Retailers there also say North Carolina players are driving up their ticket sales.

"If you come to our parking lot on any given day, you can see more North Carolina (license) plates than anything else," Manager Danielle Beck said.

Farther down the road from Red Rocket on South Carolina Highway 51 is the third-highest retailer, Miller's Produce. The store sold $102,900 in the lottery's first 10 days.

Clover Shop and Save, also in York County, is the fourth-top seller in the state.

South Carolina lottery officials hope the games entice North Carolina residents, who do not have a state lottery of their own to play.

"I think about 30 percent of our sales (in stores near the border) will be people who come down from North Carolina," said lottery official Tony Robertson.

Even South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges has urged North Carolinians to drive a few miles to buy some lottery tickets.

In the first two weeks of operations, ticket sales for the South Carolina Education Lottery totaled $38.2 million.

From the start of the games, counties along the North Carolina border have added heavily to those figures.

In the western side of South Carolina, Greenville County racked up the most state sales in the first week - about $1.7 million. Figures remained high for the second week, with $1.6 million.

York County took in $1.5 million in sales the first seven days and topped that amount the second week with $1.7 million.

Retailers in coastal Horry County sold $1.2 million in the lottery's first week. The county increased sales the next week to $1.3 million.

Spartanburg County sold $1.1 million in lottery tickets the first seven days and $1.2 million the following week.