According to an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, ticket sales at the Arkansas Lottery are down for the third month in a row.

The article states, “Among other things, lottery officials blamed high gasoline prices, high temperatures and high electricity bills for the dip in sales in July and August.” As others have pointed out before, if people are unable to purchase lottery tickets because they need the money to pay for basic necessities–like the utility bill, gasoline, and so on–it’s probably a good indicator that many of the lottery’s players are the people who can actually least afford to gamble and lose on lottery tickets.

A few more points based on the article:

  • Lottery Scholarship funds are down $1.6 million over this time last year.
  • Lottery officials hope to spend about 1/5 of the Lottery’s revenue on college scholarships this fiscal year. This is a decrease over the 21-22% previously allocated for scholarships.
  • Lottery officials hope scholarship funds will total $98 million this year, but note that goal is probably unrealistic. Even if it is met, it is still far short of the $100+ million students were promised annually.

The Arkansas Lottery’s strategy from Day One has been simple: Roll out as much gambling as possible as quickly as possible to keep people buying as many lottery tickets as possible.

In September 2011, the Lottery’s $20 scratch-off ticket was a hot item. These latest reports seem to indicate that by September 2012, $20 scratch-offs were old hat.

One has to ask if the solution to lagging lottery ticket sales is simply to roll out more gambling, where does that end?