LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe on Monday appointed the final three members of the Arkansas Lottery Commission, naming George J. Hammons of Pine Bluff, Dianne Lamberth of Batesville and Ben Pickard of Beebe to the board that will oversee lottery operations.
Voters in the November general election approved a constitutional amendment authorizing state-run lottery games to raise money for college scholarships. The amendment left the lottery details to the Legislature.
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Act, passed during the recent legislative session, required Beebe, House Speaker Robbie Wills, D-Conway, and Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Johnson, D-Bigelow, to make three appointments each to the nine-member lottery commission.
Wills and Johnson previously named their appointees to the panel. Beebe on Monday appointed Lamberth to a six-year term, Pickard to a four-year term and Hammons to a two-year term on the panel.
Hammons, chairman of the Philander Smith College Department of Chemistry, has previously served on the Arkansas Racing Commission and the Bradley County Board of Election Commissioners.
Lamberth is secretary of the Lyon College Board of Trustees and is a former instructor at the Batesville college. She has served as chairman of the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville Board of Visitors.
Beebe previously appointed Lamberth as chairman of the Task Force for the 21st-Century Economy.
Pickard, a former director of financial aid at Arkansas State University-Beebe, retired last year as the school's vice chancellor of student services. He was previously appointed by Beebe to the Arkansas Student Loan Authority.
Last month, Johnson appointed former U.S. Rep. Ray Thornton, Patty Shipp and Derrick Smith to the lottery board. Earlier this month, Wills appointed Joe White, Mike Malone and Dr. Susan Ward-Jones.
The commission's first meeting had not been scheduled Monday. Wills said he believed he, Beebe and Johnson may jointly schedule the commission's first meeting.
"They've got a lot to do and a short time to do it as far as staff decisions and policy decisions," the House speaker said.
The lottery law grants the panel significant authority, including writing rules for lottery operations, hiring a director and staff, selecting a vendor, choosing retailers and awarding prizes.
Legislative leaders expect sales of lottery tickets to begin before the end of the year and the first scholarships to be awarded for the fall of 2010.
Legislation adopted during the session and signed by Beebe authorized the state to loan the lottery $6 million for startup costs, to be repaid by proceeds from the games.