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Possibility of Mississippi lottery worries Arkansas lottery officials

Arkansas LotteryArkansas Lottery: Possibility of Mississippi lottery worries Arkansas lottery officials
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas lottery officials are keeping a nervous eye on Mississippi as that state's legislators prepare to consider creating a state lottery.

Officials say they don't want to lose the revenue the lottery now receives from Mississippi residents who cross the state line to play Arkansas' lottery, especially at a time when lottery revenues are already in decline.

Of the six states surrounding Arkansas, only Mississippi does not have a lottery. In 1992, a proposal to remove a lottery ban from the Mississippi Constitution was approved by 53 percent of voters, but to date the state's lawmakers have not passed legislation to create a lottery.

The chairman of Mississippi's House Gaming Committee has said he will hold fact-finding hearings on the subject of a state lottery in advance of the legislative session that begins Jan. 8, and at least one Mississippi lawmaker has announced plans to file a lottery bill.

That worries Arkansas lottery officials. Before Arkansas' lottery launched in September 2009, it was estimated that Arkansans were spending between $80 million and $100 million a year on lotteries in adjacent states. After the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery launched, stores in eastern Oklahoma reported an immediate drop in sales of that state's lottery tickets.

Arkansas Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said the program has not done a study to determine how much money Mississippi residents are spending on Arkansas' lottery, but he said it is surely enough to affect the bottom line if it were taken away.

"Given the history of the last four or five years and what we've seen from them taking from us, and then, alternatively, us taking from other states, it would have an impact," he said.

Woosley said people are especially willing to cross state lines to buy lottery tickets when jackpots soar. He noted that on Nov. 28, the day of Powerball's record-high $587.5 million jackpot drawing, three of the 10 top-selling Arkansas lottery retailers were in Lake Village, a few miles from the Mississippi state line.

"That's kind of telling," he said.

The possibility of new competition for the lottery is especially unwelcome while sales are lagging. Officials say Arkansas' lottery is on track to raise $90 million for college scholarships during the current fiscal year, down from $97 million the previous year.

During the upcoming session in Arkansas, which begins Jan. 14, legislators are expected to consider reducing the amounts of lottery-funded college scholarships or raising eligibility requirements in an effort to keep the scholarship program afloat. Without some kind of change, the program is expected to run out of money sometime in 2014 or 2015.

Supporters of a Mississippi lottery acknowledge that they have their work cut out for them.

"I've tried it six different times, and I'm going to try it again this year," said Mississippi Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson.

Clarke said Mississippians play the lottery, but they do so by driving to Arkansas, Louisiana or Tennessee.

"It doesn't make sense to me to take our money to other states," she said. "I'm saying to my people that we need to educate our children, just as they're doing theirs. It doesn't make sense to continuously pretend that we are not playing the lottery."

Clarke said her past lottery bills have failed to get out of committee. She said some legislators say they oppose a lottery for religious reasons, but she believes her biggest opponent is the powerful casino industry.

Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Casino Operators Association, confirmed that the association has opposed lottery bills in the past. He said he did not want to discuss the reasons for its opposition because the association is currently preparing its testimony for the upcoming House Gaming Committee hearings.

The casino industry casts a tall shadow in Mississippi. According to a 2011 study by Mississippi State University, casino revenues in the state totaled $2.5 billion in the 2009 calendar year.

Mississippi Rep. Willie Bailey, D-Greenville, who has supported lottery bills in the past, said the casino industry has enough sway among legislators to make sure lottery bills die in committee.

"They know where to apply the pressure to kill it so it never gets to the floor," he said.

Asked if he thinks Mississippi will ever have a state lottery, Bailey said, "Not in my lifetime."

But Clarke said filing a lottery bill is not the only effort she has planned. She said she hopes to be involved in an effort to place a citizens' initiative to create a lottery on the ballot and believes that if it is put before voters, they will pass it.

"My mom was 85 years young when I ran for the Legislature, and I asked my mama, I said, 'Mama, do you think I can do that?' She said, 'Haven't I always told you, you don't know what you can do unless you try?'" Clarke said.

Arkansas News Bureau

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35 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Ronnie316.
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Original Bey's avatar - Lottery-022.jpg

Bahamas
Member #133467
September 30, 2012
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Posted: December 8, 2012, 10:10 pm - IP Logged

This is going to be a fun to follow development.

 

There are some very high powered people that will stand opposed to this, but these large jackpots and the monies a state like this is missing out on is forcing legislators to re-think their stance.

 

CA is finally taking on Powerball now the Bible Belt State of Mississippi may facilitate the Dollar and a Dream?

 

Interesting indeed!

"Everything works  ONCE!"

    RedStang's avatar - mustangshow zps61f7119e.jpg
    Dutchess NY
    United States
    Member #121966
    January 21, 2012
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    Posted: December 8, 2012, 10:10 pm - IP Logged

    If given the chance, I think the voters will choose in Clarkes favor. Don't see how lotto effects Casinos but every state is different. We know Mississippi is a bible state. Jesus says play lotto.

      Hermanus104's avatar - 5027340606 1e360c8038_s.jpg
      Northern Virginia
      United States
      Member #83350
      December 5, 2009
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      Posted: December 8, 2012, 10:15 pm - IP Logged

      Mississippi is one of the only states where I predict the winning numbers correctly every time.

      Specifically, I predict that there will be no winning number.

      That may change.

      Today's winning 3-ball is going to be a number between 000 and 999.

      In a lot of states, lotteries benefit education. That makes the REAL winners the only people who can't play!

        Avatar
        Baton Rouge, LA
        United States
        Member #4602
        May 7, 2004
        578 Posts
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        Posted: December 8, 2012, 10:32 pm - IP Logged

        My state, Louisiana, stands to take a hit too if this passes. Our lottery games have had some big winners from Mississippi and whenever Powerball gets high, ticket sales at stores near the state line shoot up.  This could be an interesting development to say the least.

        Prisoner Six

        "I am not a number, I am a free man!"

          Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
          Zeta Reticuli Star System
          United States
          Member #30470
          January 17, 2006
          9167 Posts
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          Posted: December 9, 2012, 12:40 am - IP Logged

          Interesting that the article made no mention of Arkansas dollars going to Mississippi casinos.

          Mississippi should get a lottery, they already have casino gambling. I guess they're following the Nevada model.

          Clown

          Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

          Lep

          There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #128378
            May 22, 2012
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            Posted: December 9, 2012, 11:14 am - IP Logged

            Would be nice if Mississippi gets a lottery.  That way I can travel an hour west instead of two hours east to play.

            Of course, it'd be sweeter if Alabama gets one, so I can travel to the nearest convienance store.

            The lottery is NOT a tax on the poor.  By calling it a tax, you are calling it mandatory, which is what taxes are.  But the lottery is NOT mandatory, therefore calling it a tax highly inaccurate.

              dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
              Oklahoma
              United States
              Member #82391
              November 12, 2009
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              Posted: December 9, 2012, 5:54 pm - IP Logged

              Oklahoma has Casino's as well & is considered part of  the " Bible Belt" but when given the chance to vote the citizens voted for the lottery hang in there Mississippi don't give up...

              I Love Pink & Green 1908

                Original Bey's avatar - Lottery-022.jpg

                Bahamas
                Member #133467
                September 30, 2012
                5462 Posts
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                Posted: December 9, 2012, 5:57 pm - IP Logged

                Oklahoma has Casino's as well & is considered part of  the " Bible Belt" but when given the chance to vote the citizens voted for the lottery hang in there Mississippi don't give up...

                Agenda driven politicians exploit that labeling to support their own interests and the interests of those that fund their campaigns.

                "Everything works  ONCE!"

                  Avatar
                  Texas
                  United States
                  Member #132460
                  September 4, 2012
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                  Posted: December 10, 2012, 10:24 am - IP Logged

                  Is this a good news or a bad news?

                  For me, State Lottery in Mississippi is a great idea.  The government here will earn additional income that can be used for Scholarship funds.  On the other hand, this is a bad news for Arkansas. They will lose huge amount of money...

                    Avatar
                    westboro, ma
                    United States
                    Member #108384
                    March 25, 2011
                    330 Posts
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                    Posted: December 22, 2012, 11:45 am - IP Logged

                    Is this a good news or a bad news?

                    For me, State Lottery in Mississippi is a great idea.  The government here will earn additional income that can be used for Scholarship funds.  On the other hand, this is a bad news for Arkansas. They will lose huge amount of money...

                    anything that decimates the arkansas lottery and gets my buddy bishop woolsey fired would be like winning the lottery. woolsey couldn't manage a chicken farm .


                      United States
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                      September 7, 2011
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                      Posted: December 22, 2012, 5:52 pm - IP Logged

                      anything that decimates the arkansas lottery and gets my buddy bishop woolsey fired would be like winning the lottery. woolsey couldn't manage a chicken farm .

                      Since when did the lotteries become a vital source of income  for states? I always thought they were just collecting "extra" money to do a little "extra" good in the community? Now its the states source of survival?


                        United States
                        Member #116272
                        September 7, 2011
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                        Posted: December 22, 2012, 5:52 pm - IP Logged

                        anything that decimates the arkansas lottery and gets my buddy bishop woolsey fired would be like winning the lottery. woolsey couldn't manage a chicken farm .

                        Fire the rat.................


                          United States
                          Member #116272
                          September 7, 2011
                          20244 Posts
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                          Posted: December 22, 2012, 5:54 pm - IP Logged

                          Agenda driven politicians exploit that labeling to support their own interests and the interests of those that fund their campaigns.

                          Fire those rats too..................


                            United States
                            Member #116272
                            September 7, 2011
                            20244 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: December 22, 2012, 5:54 pm - IP Logged

                            Oklahoma has Casino's as well & is considered part of  the " Bible Belt" but when given the chance to vote the citizens voted for the lottery hang in there Mississippi don't give up...

                            And that goes for those rats too............