According to an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Arkansas Lottery has hired a new sales director amid lagging sales and scholarships.

The article states,

“The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s sales director, Mitch Chandler, didn’t meet the minimum requirements for the post in the lottery’s job description, according to records obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

“Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said Thursday he waived the requirement for Chandler to have a bachelor’s degree.

“The job was not posted, and the public wasn’t invited to apply; lottery officials hope the new sales director will help reverse years of declining revenue and scholarship proceeds.”

The article goes on to say the new sales director will receive around $104,000 per year.

Right now the Arkansas Lottery is positioned to come up several million dollars short of its initial scholarship budget for Fiscal Year 2015. Many continue to cite lagging ticket sales as part of the reason for the scholarship shortfall.

However, we have maintained for years, now, that the Arkansas Lottery does not have a “revenue problem.” It has a priorities problem.

Every state lottery we have reviewed started with significant sales followed by a period of decline and plateau. When the lottery opens shop, people are lined up to buy tickets; once the novelty wears off, ticket sales decline and then stabilize.

The Arkansas Lottery managed to keep its sales artificially propped up by rolling out more gambling more quickly than any state lottery we know. Now the state is saturated with lottery games, and ticket sales have declined. Meanwhile, the Lottery has doled out money on administrative and advertising expenditures, and it has continued to reduce the percentage of its gross revenue it allocates for scholarships.

The Arkansas Legislature moved the Lottery under the purview of the Department of Finance and Administration in hopes doing so would improve the Lottery.

The Lottery keeps trying to bolster itself through new games and marketing. If the Lottery keeps doing what it has always done, it is going to get the same results it has always gotten.