According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, members of the Arkansas Legislature have approved bringing an outside group in to review the Arkansas Lottery, but lottery officials aren’t particularly thrilled about the idea.
Legislators want Camelot Global Services of Philadelphia to conduct a review of the Arkansas Lottery–presumably to look for inefficiencies and make recommendations on ways to improve the Arkansas Lottery. All told, the review is slated to cost about $169,500, and legislators want the Arkansas Lottery Commission to foot half the bill. According to the newspaper, however, at least 4 members of the Arkansas Lottery Commission have expressed reservations over paying for that.
Now, keep in mind that this is the same Lottery Commission that has approved expenditure after expenditure in the face of declining scholarship proceeds. This summer alone, the Arkansas Lottery:
- Found an extra $500,000 in its budget for additional advertising;
- Hired a new security director for $98,500 per year;
- Hired a public relations aid for $89,000 per year;
- Authorized new partnerships with state colleges and universities for expanded marketing;
- Awarded 2% bonuses to lottery employees;
- Reduced the Arkansas Lottery’s scholarship budget.
Lottery Commissioners were fine appropriating money for advertising and employees instead of scholarships; in fact, some lottery officials indicated they thought the extra staff and marketing could bring in more money for scholarships in the long run. So why are they balking over $75,000 (that’s what Lottery Director Woosley has said they will pay) for an outside review? After all, if the review can find ways to cut costs and increase scholarship funding, isn’t that a good thing?
Or are officials afraid an outside review might reveal the Arkansas Lottery’s priorities have been misplaced?