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Quick decision: New Ark. Lottery chief recommends Powerball

Arkansas LotteryArkansas Lottery: Quick decision: New Ark. Lottery chief recommends Powerball

The newly hired director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery says he is recommending that the State Lottery Commission accept an invitation by Powerball to join the multi-state lottery known for its often soaring jackpots.

Ernie Passailaigue says he hopes the state begins selling scratch off tickets by October 29th and selling Powerball tickets by early 2010.

Passailaigue says he believes once the lottery is up and running Arkansas could see $1.5 million a day in sales.

But another potential game causing some controversy is of very little significance to Passailaigue right now. On a scale from one to 10, he'd rate it about a five.

He's talking about monitor style games, or what some states call draw games, referred to as Keno, where numbers are drawn frequently, sometimes 20 at a time, and are displayed on a monitor.

The lottery legislation passed this year allows for other types of tickets like scratch offs, but did not permit video gambling, so there is some confusion as to whether monitor games fit the definition of a lottery.

House Speaker Robbie Wills says the legislature left that decision up to the commission.

"Being a new state lottery, what we wanted to do is make sure we didn't have anything in the Arkansas code from pre-lottery days that would get in the lottery commision's way of being able to decide for themselves what to do," says Wills. "We wanted to give the lottery commission a lot of autonomy for them to decide for themselves what types of games would be offered. Other states offered instant tickets, scratch off tickets."

Passailaigue says he would need a written opinion from the Arkansas Attorney General before proceeding with monitor games. Some see it as more casino style gaming, and the fact the legislation is unclear is unsettling to groups like Family Council of Arkansas.

"Lottery law passed by the legislature was extremely vague, left almost everything wide open, now I think people are beginning to look at this law and say what have we done," says Jerry Cox with Family Council of Arkansas. "If you have any kind of gaming machine or situation where it gathers people into a group and they all gather up and gamble then you create all kinds of other issues with crime," says Cox.

Passailaigue said that scratch off tickets will start about one to 10 dollars each, but some could be sold as high as 20 dollars apiece in the future.

Powerball is played in 30 states, along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

ArkansasMatters

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13 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by petergrfn.
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New Member

United States
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June 25, 2009
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Posted: June 25, 2009, 10:49 am - IP Logged

Great for Arkansas, but I bet the greedy PB association will raise the odds EVEN more as soon as Arkansas becomes a member.  I foresee 5/62 + 1/47. Hey, why not round it up to a 1 in 250 million odds, PB association??!! I used to play PB every week but not anymore since they did yet ANOTHER change in odds in January from 1/146 million to 1/195 million. IF anything they should LOWER the odds.

    x1kosmic's avatar - neptune vg2.gif

    United States
    Member #48046
    December 7, 2006
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    Posted: June 25, 2009, 12:15 pm - IP Logged

    I was kinda hoping they might go with Megy- Millions

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      Posted: June 25, 2009, 12:18 pm - IP Logged

      Me too. Maybe they will get invited by MM.

        Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
        Chief Bottle Washer
        New Jersey
        United States
        Member #1
        May 31, 2000
        21430 Posts
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        Posted: June 25, 2009, 12:35 pm - IP Logged

        Great for Arkansas, but I bet the greedy PB association will raise the odds EVEN more as soon as Arkansas becomes a member.  I foresee 5/62 + 1/47. Hey, why not round it up to a 1 in 250 million odds, PB association??!! I used to play PB every week but not anymore since they did yet ANOTHER change in odds in January from 1/146 million to 1/195 million. IF anything they should LOWER the odds.

        I don't think they will change the matrix because of Arkansas joining.  It would take a state of higher population levels than that -- such as when Florida joined (the impetus of the last matrix change).

        What will be interesting to watch is if MUSL allows Mega Millions states to join the game.  What will they do then?  Let's say New York joins Powerball, as their legislature wants to do (if it ever gets back into session).  With one of the largest state populations in the nation, it could increase the number of wins.

        I hear some people say they want lower odds for Powerball and Mega Millions, the rationale being that it would "spread the money around" and make more millionaires, rather than fewer HUGE multi-millionaires.

        The problem with that line of thinking is that the undeniable fact is that the game generates revenues for the states only when the jackpots are huge.  In fact, with the couple/few jackpots that get over $100-$200 million, the states make most of the profits from the game.  Without those huge jackpots, the game would whither because jackpots in the range of $10-$90 million do not prompt occasional lottery players to buy tickets.

        If they lower the odds, with the current population levels the jackpot will rarely, if ever, exceed $100 million, and the game will not generate profits.  You might not care about that, but if the game doesn't generate profits, there is no reason for the states to carry it.

        If you want a game with lower odds, games like that already exist.  They are called Pick 5, Pick 6, and a variety of other names.  If you lower the odds on Powerball, you'll just get one more game with low jackpots, except it will be much harder to win than your in-state games, which means it would be worthless.  

        The reason the odds are so high is because everyone in the USA wants to play Powerball.  But that's the rub:  if you allow everyone to play, the odds become so astronomical that people such as yourself complain about how hard it is to win.

        If you really want lower odds, the only way to do it is to maintain separate multi-state games that only include certain states, and exclude a large segment of the population from playing.  

        Or, maybe they could change the game to have a large-ish jackpot that can be won in each individual state, based on sales exclusively in that state, plus one big shared jackpot that is much harder to win.

        But, apart from those two options, there isn't a way to keep the game the exactly the same, with the same participating states, just lowering the odds, and have the game remain viable.

         

        Check the State Lottery Report Card
        What grade did your lottery earn?

         

        Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
        Help eliminate computerized drawings!

          Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
          Little Rock, AR
          United States
          Member #68365
          December 19, 2008
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          Posted: June 25, 2009, 6:10 pm - IP Logged

          I am so glad that we are going to join powerball. It's the game I had in mind when I voted for the lottery.

            RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
            mid-Ohio
            United States
            Member #9
            March 24, 2001
            17724 Posts
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            Posted: June 25, 2009, 7:09 pm - IP Logged

            A lot of people claim they would prefer that PowerBall and MegaMillions  had better odds and more winners of smaller millionaires jackpots and most states have a local game that does that but they don't attract near the number of players that the big jackpot multi=state games do.

            * you don't need more tickets * 
            * just the right ticket * 
               Wink 

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              Posted: June 26, 2009, 2:01 am - IP Logged

              I don't think they will change the matrix because of Arkansas joining.  It would take a state of higher population levels than that -- such as when Florida joined (the impetus of the last matrix change).

              What will be interesting to watch is if MUSL allows Mega Millions states to join the game.  What will they do then?  Let's say New York joins Powerball, as their legislature wants to do (if it ever gets back into session).  With one of the largest state populations in the nation, it could increase the number of wins.

              I hear some people say they want lower odds for Powerball and Mega Millions, the rationale being that it would "spread the money around" and make more millionaires, rather than fewer HUGE multi-millionaires.

              The problem with that line of thinking is that the undeniable fact is that the game generates revenues for the states only when the jackpots are huge.  In fact, with the couple/few jackpots that get over $100-$200 million, the states make most of the profits from the game.  Without those huge jackpots, the game would whither because jackpots in the range of $10-$90 million do not prompt occasional lottery players to buy tickets.

              If they lower the odds, with the current population levels the jackpot will rarely, if ever, exceed $100 million, and the game will not generate profits.  You might not care about that, but if the game doesn't generate profits, there is no reason for the states to carry it.

              If you want a game with lower odds, games like that already exist.  They are called Pick 5, Pick 6, and a variety of other names.  If you lower the odds on Powerball, you'll just get one more game with low jackpots, except it will be much harder to win than your in-state games, which means it would be worthless.  

              The reason the odds are so high is because everyone in the USA wants to play Powerball.  But that's the rub:  if you allow everyone to play, the odds become so astronomical that people such as yourself complain about how hard it is to win.

              If you really want lower odds, the only way to do it is to maintain separate multi-state games that only include certain states, and exclude a large segment of the population from playing.  

              Or, maybe they could change the game to have a large-ish jackpot that can be won in each individual state, based on sales exclusively in that state, plus one big shared jackpot that is much harder to win.

              But, apart from those two options, there isn't a way to keep the game the exactly the same, with the same participating states, just lowering the odds, and have the game remain viable.

              I understand multi-state games like PB and MM have to have higher odds than individual states games with lower odds. But what was "wrong" with 5/55 + 1/42 PB prior to January 2009, or even 5/53 + 1/42 PB prior to August 2005 with jackpot odds of 1/120 million? PB jackpots haven't been any higher since January than what they were a year ago before the latest matrix expansion.  The number of jackpot winners have been roughly the same too (June 2008 - June 2009). Jackpot odds jumping from 1/120 million (08/2005) to 1/195 million (01/2009) in less than four years is excessive and discourages players.

              Just adding one or two more states, or "populous" states, shouldn't justify PB adding more balls to the game every 2-3 years. If I'm not mistaken PB in the early 2000's had jackpot odds of 1/80 million, and back then people thought those kinds of odds were already "astronomical." Compare that to 1/195 million now. And the last PB matrix change in January did not even alter the payout for lower-tier prizes. Payout for matching 4 out 5, 3 out 5 etc. did not change. It's still the same $100 for matching 4/5 or 3+1/5 with more balls added to the game. MM is better with $150.  There's a difference between having a long shot at a dream and making the dream more and more impossibly out of reach every few years. After a while people tire of wasting their money and get smarter. There's a point when you just think, "why botter?"

              If PB wants to increase revenue EVEN more and have bigger jackpots more often, they should first lower the odds and second raise the price of the ticket to $2. I heard MM is thinking about doing just that and I'm all for it. There are already lots of very profitable and popular $2 lottery games in several states. I don't think too many people would refuse to pay $2 for a PB or MM ticket if that meant lower jackpot odds and better payout for matching 4, 3, 2 numbers. 

              PB is shooting themselves in the foot by having the dubious distinction of being the lottery game with the highest odds in the country. I don't think their sales have gone up since January as they were expecting. They should have lowered the jackpot odds, raised the price of the ticket to $2, and put in place a better payout for lower-tier prizes.

              I look at this from my perspective as a PLAYER and my incentives as a PLAYER to part with my money, and not from the perspective of a state official trying to raise more money for the state.  If their goal is to create more loyal players over the long run, state lottery officials should be more creative and leave the mentality of "hey let's raise the odds again" OUT of their brainstorming sessions. 

              Arkansas should go with MM.

                Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                Chief Bottle Washer
                New Jersey
                United States
                Member #1
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                Posted: June 26, 2009, 2:07 am - IP Logged

                I understand multi-state games like PB and MM have to have higher odds than individual states games with lower odds. But what was "wrong" with 5/55 + 1/42 PB prior to January 2009, or even 5/53 + 1/42 PB prior to August 2005 with jackpot odds of 1/120 million? PB jackpots haven't been any higher since January than what they were a year ago before the latest matrix expansion.  The number of jackpot winners have been roughly the same too (June 2008 - June 2009). Jackpot odds jumping from 1/120 million (08/2005) to 1/195 million (01/2009) in less than four years is excessive and discourages players.

                Just adding one or two more states, or "populous" states, shouldn't justify PB adding more balls to the game every 2-3 years. If I'm not mistaken PB in the early 2000's had jackpot odds of 1/80 million, and back then people thought those kinds of odds were already "astronomical." Compare that to 1/195 million now. And the last PB matrix change in January did not even alter the payout for lower-tier prizes. Payout for matching 4 out 5, 3 out 5 etc. did not change. It's still the same $100 for matching 4/5 or 3+1/5 with more balls added to the game. MM is better with $150.  There's a difference between having a long shot at a dream and making the dream more and more impossibly out of reach every few years. After a while people tire of wasting their money and get smarter. There's a point when you just think, "why botter?"

                If PB wants to increase revenue EVEN more and have bigger jackpots more often, they should first lower the odds and second raise the price of the ticket to $2. I heard MM is thinking about doing just that and I'm all for it. There are already lots of very profitable and popular $2 lottery games in several states. I don't think too many people would refuse to pay $2 for a PB or MM ticket if that meant lower jackpot odds and better payout for matching 4, 3, 2 numbers. 

                PB is shooting themselves in the foot by having the dubious distinction of being the lottery game with the highest odds in the country. I don't think their sales have gone up since January as they were expecting. They should have lowered the jackpot odds, raised the price of the ticket to $2, and put in place a better payout for lower-tier prizes.

                I look at this from my perspective as a PLAYER and my incentives as a PLAYER to part with my money, and not from the perspective of a state official trying to raise more money for the state.  If their goal is to create more loyal players over the long run, state lottery officials should be more creative and leave the mentality of "hey let's raise the odds again" OUT of their brainstorming sessions. 

                Arkansas should go with MM.

                As I explained, they could not stay with the old matrix once Florida joined.  It has a huge population, and if the matrix stayed the same there would be far too many winners and the jackpot would fail to exceed $100 million.  It's simple mathematics.  

                Maybe you should complain to MUSL that they keep adding states.  But I don't think the people in those states would agree with you.  Everyone wants to play.

                 

                Check the State Lottery Report Card
                What grade did your lottery earn?

                 

                Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                  Avatar

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                  Posted: June 26, 2009, 3:18 am - IP Logged

                  I think this is a serious error in judgement. Arkansas is surrounded by Powerball states, most notably with Tennessee. Now, those people in Memphis who could have crossed the Big Muddy to get Mega Millions in Arkansas, will now most likely be keeping their money at home. Not to mention folks in Monroe, LA, Joplin, MO, and tourists to Branson. Ernie will probably make better decisions for other aspects of the lottery, but this is a real missed opportunity.

                  As for the whole Powerball/Mega in the same state thing, I wouldn't count on it happening for sure. And if it did happen, mark my words, it would mean the absolute end of in-state $1mil+ jackpot games, pick-6 etc. They can hold their own against one multi-state game, but not two. I wouldn't be rooting for a situation like that. That would mean in order to win a million or more in an on-line game, you would either have to face 1 in 250,000,000 odds, spend $10 or more on a scratch-off with such a prize, or settle for $200,000 or so with a pick-5, because that would be all that's left in the big money category.

                  (insert signature here)

                    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                    Tennessee
                    United States
                    Member #7853
                    October 15, 2004
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                    Posted: June 26, 2009, 3:23 am - IP Logged

                    good post jimmy and with me being in memphis i do hope they get mega millions.i'd love that.

                      wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

                      United States
                      Member #15143
                      May 10, 2005
                      388 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: June 26, 2009, 2:31 pm - IP Logged

                      I understand multi-state games like PB and MM have to have higher odds than individual states games with lower odds. But what was "wrong" with 5/55 + 1/42 PB prior to January 2009, or even 5/53 + 1/42 PB prior to August 2005 with jackpot odds of 1/120 million? PB jackpots haven't been any higher since January than what they were a year ago before the latest matrix expansion.  The number of jackpot winners have been roughly the same too (June 2008 - June 2009). Jackpot odds jumping from 1/120 million (08/2005) to 1/195 million (01/2009) in less than four years is excessive and discourages players.

                      Just adding one or two more states, or "populous" states, shouldn't justify PB adding more balls to the game every 2-3 years. If I'm not mistaken PB in the early 2000's had jackpot odds of 1/80 million, and back then people thought those kinds of odds were already "astronomical." Compare that to 1/195 million now. And the last PB matrix change in January did not even alter the payout for lower-tier prizes. Payout for matching 4 out 5, 3 out 5 etc. did not change. It's still the same $100 for matching 4/5 or 3+1/5 with more balls added to the game. MM is better with $150.  There's a difference between having a long shot at a dream and making the dream more and more impossibly out of reach every few years. After a while people tire of wasting their money and get smarter. There's a point when you just think, "why botter?"

                      If PB wants to increase revenue EVEN more and have bigger jackpots more often, they should first lower the odds and second raise the price of the ticket to $2. I heard MM is thinking about doing just that and I'm all for it. There are already lots of very profitable and popular $2 lottery games in several states. I don't think too many people would refuse to pay $2 for a PB or MM ticket if that meant lower jackpot odds and better payout for matching 4, 3, 2 numbers. 

                      PB is shooting themselves in the foot by having the dubious distinction of being the lottery game with the highest odds in the country. I don't think their sales have gone up since January as they were expecting. They should have lowered the jackpot odds, raised the price of the ticket to $2, and put in place a better payout for lower-tier prizes.

                      I look at this from my perspective as a PLAYER and my incentives as a PLAYER to part with my money, and not from the perspective of a state official trying to raise more money for the state.  If their goal is to create more loyal players over the long run, state lottery officials should be more creative and leave the mentality of "hey let's raise the odds again" OUT of their brainstorming sessions. 

                      Arkansas should go with MM.

                      I don't agree with $2 tickets. PB has that now with an optional $1 for the multiplier. Hiking the basic ticket price to $2 would mean $3 total if you wanted multiplier. I think multiplier revenue would drop like a lead balloon then. That's the only way I'd want to see MM go, keep it at $1 and have an optional $1 for a multiplier.

                        Avatar

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                        Member #10720
                        January 23, 2005
                        932 Posts
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                        Posted: June 27, 2009, 12:20 pm - IP Logged

                        Dear Powerball Lottery:

                        Please don't forget to add more balls if you add Arkansas.

                        Powerball is no fun because it's just too easy to win right now.

                          Avatar

                          United States
                          Member #26330
                          November 16, 2005
                          330 Posts
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                          Posted: June 27, 2009, 6:20 pm - IP Logged

                          I think this is a serious error in judgement. Arkansas is surrounded by Powerball states, most notably with Tennessee. Now, those people in Memphis who could have crossed the Big Muddy to get Mega Millions in Arkansas, will now most likely be keeping their money at home. Not to mention folks in Monroe, LA, Joplin, MO, and tourists to Branson. Ernie will probably make better decisions for other aspects of the lottery, but this is a real missed opportunity.

                          As for the whole Powerball/Mega in the same state thing, I wouldn't count on it happening for sure. And if it did happen, mark my words, it would mean the absolute end of in-state $1mil+ jackpot games, pick-6 etc. They can hold their own against one multi-state game, but not two. I wouldn't be rooting for a situation like that. That would mean in order to win a million or more in an on-line game, you would either have to face 1 in 250,000,000 odds, spend $10 or more on a scratch-off with such a prize, or settle for $200,000 or so with a pick-5, because that would be all that's left in the big money category.

                          I agree.   The nearest MM state is Texas which is an awful long drive from many parts of Arkansas and the surrounding states.   They would make alot more money being a Mega Millions state rather than Powerball.  However I think Powerball has better branding and name recognition which is why I think many states join PB.   I don't know how many times I've seen the MM jackpot get up to record level and people tell me they are buying POWERBALL tickets....LOL