According to a story in today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Arkansas Lottery Commission’s Personnel Committee has approved a proposal to hire a public relations and legislative liaison for $88,957 a year. The full commission will vote on the proposal later this month.
To be fair, the position is not a new one; Lottery Commissioner Julie Baldridge held the job before retiring in April of 2013, and it has been vacant ever since. But the Arkansas Lottery seems to have gotten along just fine without a PR person. Yes, ticket sales have continued to drop at the Arkansas Lottery, and scholarship projections have been cut time and time again, but you can’t blame that on poor public relations–although it might be the kind of thing a public relations aide could help gloss over.
In the face of lagging revenue, the Arkansas Lottery seems to be bent on using the same, tired strategy of rolling out more gambling, spending extra on advertising, and, now, hiring an $89,000 PR aide–presumably to boost the lottery’s image.
So far, those tactics haven’t delivered the “world class” lottery we were all promised back in 2009. Is there really any reason to think that strategy will work this time?