Delays participation in Decades of Dollars game
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Lottery Commission approved a new budget Wednesday that takes into account expected reductions in revenue.
Under the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, operating revenue would be $459 million, compared to $464 million for the current fiscal year, with $100 million in net proceeds, down from $105 million.
Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue said the budget for the upcoming year is based on actual revenue.
The commission also agreed to move forward with a new $20 instant ticket game that will give players a chance to win $1 million and is expected to begin in May. Passailaigue said the new ticket will attract people with higher incomes and will help the commission meet this year's revenue expectations.
"This $20 ticket will be a very good thing and will help us expand our player base," he said, adding that the money generated from ticket sales will also help raise more money for the scholarship fund.
Edgar A. Kully, an owner of market-research firm Crestwood Associates, told commission members about the findings of a demographic study the company carried out for the Arkansas Lottery. It found that 42 percent of Arkansas adults had participated in the state lottery in some way since the first tickets were sold in September 2009. He said the most popular games are the instant or "scratch" games.
According to Kully, 77 percent of lottery participants support the idea of lottery proceeds going to a good cause, 89 percent of all players are 25 years or older and 74 percent of players come from households with an income of $25,000 or greater.
"The majority of players in Arkansas perceive the experience positively," Kully said. Only 2 percent of the study's participants had negative opinions about the lottery, he said.
The commission postponed action on a contract that would allow Arkansas lottery customers to take part in a multi-state regional game called Decades of Dollars, after some commissioners said they needed more time to review the proposal. Lottery spokeswoman Julie Baldridge said the contract would be considered at a special teleconference meeting Friday.