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Petition submitted for starting Arkansas lottery

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Petition submitted for starting Arkansas lottery
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Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter submitted 138,615 signatures Thursday in support of a constitutional amendment creating a state-run lottery, moving his proposal to help fund college scholarships closer toward appearing on the November ballot.

Supporters needed 77,468 signatures by July 7 to get the measure on the November ballot. Tim Humphries, an attorney for the secretary of state's office, said officials will count and certify the valid signatures on July 7 and Halter will have 30 days to submit additional signatures if not enough are gathered.

"It's a major step along the path to hope and opportunity for Arkansas as we try to return the millions of dollars that is leaving the state and going into the purchase of lottery tickets in Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana," Halter said as he stood in front of 12 boxes containing the signed petitions. "The scholarship lottery will keep those funds in Arkansas and put them to work educating and providing for the education of Arkansas students."

Just how much money remains in dispute. Halter contends that the lottery will bring in $100 million annually for college scholarships. But a non-profit group, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, disputed that number in a report released Wednesday that said the state would actually only see $61.5 million annually.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has estimated that a lottery in the state would bring in $55 million annually.

Halter acknowledged that the lottery's revenues will depend in part in how it's implemented if passed by voters in November. Lawmakers must flesh out the details and limits on the lottery with enabling legislation next year if the lottery passes.

"I don't think that there's any question that the ultimate figure is going to depend on how a lottery gets enacted, but my hope is that when Arkansas voters decide this, that folks, including the folks who are opposed, will say the people have decided and now having had that vote we ought to fashion a system that works as well as it can possibly work," Halter said.

Halter said he could not guarantee that the lottery would not lead to video lottery terminals akin to slot machines in the state, a fear that has been raised by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and opponents of the lottery. Halter said he is opposed to such games being added.

"The folks who are saying that would happen are saying the Legislature would do that, but the fact is ... we came up short on votes in the Legislature to even have a vote on the lottery in the first place," he said.

The head of the Arkansas Family Council, a conservative group opposed to the lottery, afterward said that the amendment would give lawmakers a "blank check" to define a lottery in any way they saw fit. Jerry Cox, the council's director, said his group is considering whether to file a legal challenge over the proposed ballot title.

"They might not pass (video lottery terminals) this year or next year, but in five years, 10 years or 20 years? Remember, we're enshrining this in the constitution," Cox said.

AP

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7 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by PrisonerSix.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #58528
February 18, 2008
710 Posts
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Posted: June 27, 2008, 10:54 am - IP Logged

I like to buy lottery tickets whenever I pass through a state while on vacation.Arkansas doesn't have a lottery,so I've never been able to buy lottery tickets there.I'd sign their petition if they allowed people from other states to sign it.

    DC81's avatar - batman39
    MI
    United States
    Member #54830
    August 31, 2007
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    Posted: June 27, 2008, 1:05 pm - IP Logged

    Jerry Cox seems like the typical scaremongering idiot and someone who sells the "gateway" theory. Considering the condition Arkansas is in and has been since forever, every little bit of non-tax related state revenue they can get certainly wouldn't hurt and obviously I don't consider the lottery a "tax on the poor" like I've seen some jerks call it.

    You can't predict random.

      ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
      Idaho
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      November 21, 2007
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      Posted: June 27, 2008, 1:25 pm - IP Logged

      I think it would be great for Arkansa to get the lottery. I am sure there are many people who live there that really want to have a chance to play without going out of state. I guessing  they will have no trouble getting all the signatures they need.

      "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

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        United States
        Member #1826
        July 11, 2003
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        Posted: June 27, 2008, 9:39 pm - IP Logged
          GamerMom's avatar - tails

          United States
          Member #60535
          April 21, 2008
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          Posted: June 29, 2008, 10:07 pm - IP Logged

          good luck, I hope they get it.  I wish Alabama could get one.  God knows our educational system could use it.

            LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
            Tennessee
            United States
            Member #7853
            October 15, 2004
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            Posted: July 2, 2008, 6:21 am - IP Logged

            just hope they get it and if they do its not watered down with RNG draws.

              Avatar
              Baton Rouge, LA
              United States
              Member #4602
              May 7, 2004
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              Posted: July 12, 2008, 10:53 am - IP Logged

              I remember when the Louisiana legislature dealt with the lottery issue.  There were a few who brought up lottery bills over and over again and the bills kept getting voted down.  Finally, a lottery bill got passed and it was put to a vote of the people.  A few legislators who said they opposed it voted for the bill just so it could be put to the people to decide.  Many thought it would get voted down and then the matter would be resolved for once and for all.  It not only didn't get voted down, but it won by a landslide.  The people of Arkansas need to be given the same option.

              However, a lottery to fund education isn't a good idea in my opinion, based on what has happened in other areas.  The state legislature looks at the budget and decides that since education is getting all of the money from the lottery, they don't need funding from any other source, so other state funding to education is cut, and if lottery sales go down, education funding goes down and it ends up in worse shape than before.

              As for the chance of it getting passed, I'm not so sure.  Arkansas residents show up as winners on the Louisiana Lottery website from time to time so there might be a market for a lottery there, but with Alabama voting it down a few years ago, not sure what the chances are in today's climate. 

              Just my opinion.

              Prisoner Six

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