Senate panel advances bill to abolish lottery commission

LITTLE ROCK — A proposal to abolish the independent commission running Arkansas' lottery and put the games under a state agency's control is heading to the Senate for a vote.

The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would abolish the nine-member Lottery Commission and put the games under the state Department of Finance and Administration. Republican Sen. Jimmy Hickey of Texarkana said the change is needed to stabilize the lottery, which has seen sluggish ticket sales.

Voters approved the lottery in 2008 to raise money for college scholarships, and the state began selling tickets the following year. Hickey's proposal would have the state lottery director appointed by the governor.