Lottery tickets have been on sale in Arkansas for less than two months, and already we’ve seen a sharp spike in the variety of tickets being sold.
Most people who watch the news or read the paper have probably seen stories about Powerball. What aren’t getting as much attention are the new scratch-off tickets being sold or the Lottery Commission’s plans to keep expanding the ways in which Arkansans can be separated from their money.
A little over a week ago, Christmas-themed scratch-off tickets went on sale. These tickets, decorated with holly, Christmas trees, and candy canes, come with names like “Holiday Cash” or “Stocking Stuffer”. What’s sad is that there will be Arkansans this Christmas who buy these tickets instead of gifts for their children or food for their family. Even if 80% of the people buying lottery tickets did “play responsibly,” why would the State of Arkansas want to do that to the other 20% and their loved ones? It’s just wrong.
A quick glance at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery website shows the future doesn’t look any brighter. Lottery officials have plans to add Cash 3, Cash 4, and Mega-Millions, a multi-state lottery similar to Powerball, to the list. What’s more, they just started selling a $10 scratch-off ticket, and the lottery’s website promises “More games coming December 1.”
The truth is this is probably only the beginning. Adding tickets now might bolster lottery sales in the short-run (and fleece more Arkansans out of their money), but lottery revenue almost always declines after the first year. When that happens, state-run lotteries usually turn to additional games to boost their profits.
You can see this expansion of gambling for yourself by going to the lottery’s website: http://myarkansaslottery.com/.