On Tuesday we talked about the rapid expansion of lotteries in Arkansas. The lottery commission appears to be dead-set on more and more ways to fleece the people from their money. There are now 20 different kinds of lottery scratch-off tickets ranging from one dollar to 10 dollars. If past and present behavior is any indication, more scratch-off tickets will soon be added and at higher prices.
Let’s also not forget that, in addition to the new Cash 3 “game,” a Cash 4 “game” is on its way. Mega Millions will soon be added into the mix as well, along with lottery ticket vending machines. Is this really what the people of Arkansas voted for?
I think the answer to this question is self-evident. Fortunately, there are some practical steps that the legislature can take to reign in the lottery.
Here are some ideas worth considering:
• Require posting of the odds of winning at all retail locations selling lottery gambling products.
• Pass legislation to ban any sale of lottery tickets from vending machines to help ensure that minors do not gamble.
• Adequately fund a gambling addiction treatment program. Currently, only about $200,000 is set aside for treatment—a minimal amount, compared to the millions of dollars gambled and lost on the lottery every year.
• Require local and state-wide economic and social impact studies on the lottery.
Of course, many more practical ideas for lottery reform exist. Now is the time to start thinking about and implementing common-sense legislation to reign in the lottery—before it gets even more out-of-control and destructive.