RALEIGH, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Every year, thousands of North Carolinians take a chance in hopes of cashing in big.

In 2021, the North Carolina Education Lottery made sales of $10.4 million a day.

While a chunk of that goes toward supporting education across the state, a multinational firm also gets a payout; since the 1950s, state lotteries have spread coast to coast.

“Virtually every state, all except for five, has lotteries,” said Sean Mussenden, editor at Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

Over the years, gambling systems have become increasingly complex. An increasing number of states are turning to international companies to help run them.

“It’s pretty big business. It’s billions of dollars a year to companies that operate lotteries,” Mussenden said.

His research and his team show that control over lotteries is slipping into the hands of two major companies.

“IGT is one of the largest. There are two companies that dominate the industry that’s IGT and Scientific Games,” Mussenden said.

In 2006 and 2016, the North Carolina Lottery Commission signed a 10-year contract with IGT.

Based on projected sales, the commission is estimated to pay the company nearly $27 million annually.

In North Carolina, IGT is making the equivalent of around 1% of revenue generated by the lottery system.

“Increasingly, they are handling larger and larger pieces of the business to the extent to where more and more states are just fully contracting out control of the systems that print tickets, the production of tickets, and in some states also handling the marketing and advertising,” Mussenden said.