LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Lottery Commission voted yesterday to authorize the introduction of raffle games during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
The lottery plans to hold two raffles during the fiscal year, the first of which will launch in July or August, Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue said.
Passailaigue said the games will be similar to raffles held by civic clubs. The lottery will have a set number of tickets printed, each with a unique number, and the winning numbers will be selected in a drawing, he said.
The games likely will offer at least one $1 million prize, and the odds of winning $1 million will be higher than in other lottery games, Passailaigue said. Tickets will be either $10 or $20, he said, noting that the larger the ticket price, the better the odds of winning a large prize will be.
"This would be an introduction with probably a $10 ticket, and then we would see exactly what the marketplace told us. My guess is that they would like to have better odds," he said.
Each game will last several weeks, Passailaigue said. To keep players from waiting until just before the end to buy tickets, preliminary drawings likely will be held, possibly every week, he said.
Some raffle tickets may also offer chances to win instant prizes, said David Barden, the lottery's vice president of gaming. For example, every 25th ticket could be an instant-win ticket, he said.
Passailaigue also told the board that by Feb. 28 the lottery, which launched Sept. 28, had brought in $227.4 million, of which $47.3 million, or 20.9 percent, will fund college scholarships.
The rest of the money was spent as follows: 65.8 percent on prizes; 5.6 percent on commissions; 4.5 percent on gaming contracts; 2.1 percent on administrative costs; and 1.1 percent on advertising.
Passailaigue projected that in the 2010-2011 fiscal year the lottery will collect $479 million in sales and net $116 million for scholarships. That's $4 million more than the profit estimate the state Legislature relied on when it decided last month to set scholarship amounts at $5,000 to attend a four-year school and $2,500 to attend a two-year school.
"We feel like that is very achievable," Passailaigue said of the scholarship amounts.
Ray Thornton of Little Rock, the commission's chairman, announced that he will not seek re-election to that position. The commission is scheduled to elect new officers May 19.
The commission also approved an employee manual for lottery workers, pending a review by the legislative oversight committee on the lottery. The manual includes an ethics code that, among other things, prohibits employees and their immediate family members from playing the lottery.
Thornton did not vote against approving the manual, but he said it concerned him that the sentence "The ALC Manual is not a contract" appears on every page.
"The question I have is whether to repeat that language on every page of the document has a chilling effect on the employee's reliance on (the manual)," he said.
Ernestine Middleton, the lottery's vice president of administration, said lawyers recommended printing the sentence on every page.
Under Arkansas law, an employee who does not have a contract is considered an at-will employee and can be fired without cause at any time.