January 8, 2010 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

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.

Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.