In a non-binding vote, the Arkansas Legislative Lottery Oversight Committee recently approved a motion of “non-support” regarding a bill introducing games players can watch on monitors in stores, bars or restaurants and bet on numbers drawn every four minutes. Proposed changes now will go to the full legislature.
Lottery Director Bishop Woosley explained that commissioners have been seeking a way to boost sales and award more college scholarships. He said sales of instant tickets and draw games have decreased, and lottery officials lowered their projected earnings for the fiscal year from $90.2 million to $82.7 million.
Woosley said the decline in draw-game sales is “kind of a national trend” due to “jackpot fatigue.” He blamed changes in the Powerball game, such as prices doubling to $2 per ticket. Woolsey also noted when the lottery was launched five years ago, it opened with a variety of $1, $5, $10 and $20 instant ticket games, leaving him at a disadvantage. Lawsuits and a scandal regarding the theft of instant tickets also has hurt the lottery’s image.
State Senator Robert Thompson said the proposal seems to go beyond what voters approved for the state lottery. “What happens in four years? This almost seems to me like a race to the bottom,” Thompson said.