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Arkansas Lottery cuts proceeds projections for year

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published February 19, 2014 at 11:28 a.m. Updated February 19, 2014 at 12:10 p.m.


Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley speaks during a meeting Wednesday.

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Commission has voted to lower projected net proceeds for scholarships for the current fiscal year from about $89.5 million to about $82.8 million, a reduction of more than 7.5 percent.

The unanimous vote came after a meeting where commissioners learned net proceeds in January were down more than 14 percent and nearly 20 percent off budget. Fiscal year to date, net proceeds were off more than 10 percent from the same point a year earlier.

"It's always disappointing when you have to stand before your bosses and the students and say we're making less money and therefore there's going to be less money for scholarships," Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said after a meeting where allowing debit cards for lottery purchases and Keno were raised as possibilities. "My job is to tell them how I think we can make more. And that's what I did today."

Net proceeds for scholarships were about $5.6 million in January, down 14.1 percent from a year earlier. The proceeds were 19.5 percent below the previously projected budget for the month.

The figures don't include money from unclaimed prizes, which totaled more than $1.1 million in January. Director Bishop Woosley said that was a high total for a month aided in part by a $250,000 jackpot that wasn't claimed within six months of the draw date.

Earlier Wednesday, a commission subcommittee opted to research debit cards further before deciding whether to seek legislative approval. Woosley said debit cards would likely require a law change.

Asked afterward about them and Keno, Woosley said they are "some of the answers we have" to improve revenues.

"As you grow as a business, you look for new sources of revenue and new ways to make money," he said. "If you look at any other business in the world, they grow, they expand their product base, they do things of that nature. We're no different."


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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 total comments

fedupwithit says... February 19, 2014 at 12:35 p.m.

I would bet the commissioners' pay isn't going down by 7%. If their job is to promote the lottery and they don't meet the projections that they make, then their salary should be cut by a corresponding amount. They would either be more accurate on their projections, and/or do a better job of promoting so they meet them. And any kind of bonuses should not even be considered.

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TheBatt says... February 19, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.

Where's the $$$???? So much for the great bonus benefits of the lottery...

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dunk7474 says... February 19, 2014 at 1:14 p.m.

Yes they are without a doubt being paid way too much money, a joke to say the least. When you consider only 20% go to scholarships compared to other states who receive much more, something is VERY wrong or corrupt. The children are being RIPPED OFF. Do legislators have scholarships to give away? Who decides? Time to get a new leader and reduce staff as other companies do to those who don't produce. Who goes first?

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AmericasDoomed says... February 19, 2014 at 1:27 p.m.

The people of Arkansas are starting to wise up. Just a small portion of the proceeds go for scholarships. The rest go to bloated salaries and who knows what else. It basically preys on the people who can least afford it.

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UCAWHY says... February 19, 2014 at 1:36 p.m.

How about the administration cut some costs and quit screwing the kids, sad but typical of government agencies taking more than they need.

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DWJ says... February 19, 2014 at 6:42 p.m.

Losing millions of dollars usually mean you fire the INCOMPETENT DIRECTOR and his staff.

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