Lottery billboard advertising in the Triangle is sparse but expensive. A billboard ad in Wake County costs the N.C. Education Lottery Commission more than $4,000 a month, according to public documents.

By comparison, it would take an N.C. public school teacher with a bachelor’s degree 10–16 years in the profession, depending on certification levels, to earn that much.

For a teacher with a master’s degree, he or she would have to put in eight to 11 years to attain that salary level.

The lottery commission doesn’t use billboard ads in Durham or Chatham counties.

In Orange County, where only one billboard advertises the lottery, the monthly rate is close to $5,000.

In neighboring Johnston and Harnett Counties, lottery advertising costs much less, ranging from several hundred to just over $1,000 monthly.

The commission spent $15 million last year on all forms of advertising, according to the 2013 annual report.

Van Denton, communications director for the lottery commission, explained the criteria for placing the billboard ads.

“They would be case by case decisions based on whether a billboards is available for rent, would its location be one where we could effectively advertise, would the costs be what the lottery is willing to pay, and, if one is available in a good location, do we have advertising funds available to pay for it,” Denton said.

This map shows locations of billboards used for lottery advertising in and around the Triangle, and the monthly cost to the commission for use of the billboard.

This article appeared in print with the headline “A numbers game”