For Immediate Release
Monday, February 6, 2012
Family Council President Jerry Cox issued a statement today renewing his organization’s call for more
transparency and efficiency at the Arkansas Lottery Commission.
“Arkansas’ Lottery Director is the third highest paid director in the nation, last I checked. On top of that, college scholarships only get about twenty-two percent of the lottery’s gross revenue, meaning if you buy a one dollar scratch-off ticket, only about twenty-two cents of that dollar is actually going to help send a student to college. That’s one of the lowest figures in the nation!”
Cox pointed out that Arkansas stands alone when it comes to the way its lottery is operated. “If paying your lottery officials lots of money and allocating relatively little for your lottery’s intended purpose were a recipe for success, I think we would see more states following that model. As it is, however, if we look at the national averages among state lotteries, we see that states usually allocate about thirty percent of lottery revenue for their lottery’s intended purpose, not twenty-two, and they spend a smaller percentage of their revenue on staff and administrative costs.”
Cox also noted that the different approach taken in managing Arkansas’ lottery has not put Arkansas ahead of other states. “If anything, our lottery seems to be struggling to deliver on its promises. Sales have fluctuated, student retention has been challenging, and legislators have lowered scholarship amounts once already. Now that the Lottery Commission is looking for a new director, they have an opportunity to address some of the problems.
“The Lottery Commission could cut the Director’s salary by two hundred thousand dollars, and I don’t think we would miss a thing. The Director would still earn six figures every year—which is something a lot of Arkansans only dream of—and that would provide another fifty or sixty scholarships immediately. They can also do a better job spelling out the Director’s responsibilities, and make sure he or she answers to the commissioners and the Arkansas Legislature. I think a lot of the lottery’s past problems could have been avoided if the lottery’s leadership simply had a little more accountability.”
Cox said his group will continue to lobby lawmakers to bring the lottery under greater legislative control. “Restructuring the Director’s position is a good start, but there are still a lot of problems that our lawmakers can address as well.”