Arkansas Lottery Still Leans Heavily on Expensive Scratch-Off Tickets

The Arkansas Lottery still leans heavily on expensive scratch-off tickets that sell for $10 or $20 each, according to information on the lottery’s website.

On the whole, instant ticket sales make up most of the Arkansas Lottery’s income.

For example, the lottery’s financial reports for May show 85% of sales revenue came from instant tickets. Only about 8% of the lottery’s revenue came from Powerball and Mega Millions.

Scratch-off tickets are controversial, because they are thought to be more likely to contribute to problem gambling and gambling addiction.

A 2015 study in Canada found a link between problem gambling and instant lottery tickets, writing,

It is possible that problem gamblers are more attracted to instant win tickets than lottery tickets because instant win tickets provide immediate feedback. Some authors have even described instant win tickets as “paper slot machines” (Griffiths, 2002). Therefore, instant win tickets might be considered a more exciting form of lottery gambling, which may help explain why it attracts a different type of gambler than [ordinary] lottery tickets do. 

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions also found a link between how often a person played scratch-off tickets and the severity of a person’s gambling problem.

Besides selling millions of dollars worth of scratch-off tickets every month, many of the Arkansas Lottery’s tickets are priced as high as $10 or $20 each.

These tickets entice players with long odds on big prizes.

People who spend $20 on a scratch-off ticket from the Arkansas Lottery have roughly a two-in-three chance of losing their money — and the odds of winning a jackpot prize can be as high as one in 920,000.

For years, the Arkansas Lottery has followed a pattern of regularly rolling out new scratch-off tickets and budgeting upwards of 69% or 70% of its revenue for prizes in an ongoing effort to prop up lottery ticket sales.

Only about 17 – 18 cents of every dollar the Arkansas Lottery makes actually goes to college scholarships.

For perspective, the typical state lottery spends about 60% of its revenue on prizes and 30% on education.

Family Council has supported legislation in the past that would restructure the Arkansas Lottery’s budget to increase spending on education. The state-run lottery could provides millions of dollars more in scholarship funding if it simply would reduce its prize budget and increase its scholarship budget to align with other state lotteries. 

Unfortunately, there simply doesn’t seem to be much incentive to do that.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Taxpayers Still Subsidize the Arkansas Lottery’s Scholarship Fund

A state budget appropriation measure passed last months serves as a reminder that taxpayers in Arkansas are still heavily subsidizing the Arkansas Lottery’s college scholarship fund.

When voters passed the constitutional amendment legalizing the state-run lottery in 2008, Arkansans were promised that lottery ticket sales would generate $100 million per year for college scholarships.

Since then, the Arkansas Lottery has struggled to live up to those promises, and the Arkansas Legislature has continued to budget millions of dollars in taxpayer funding to supplement lottery scholarships each year.

In April the legislature appropriated $25 million for the Academic Challenge Scholarship — the scholarship that the lottery funds — for the state’s upcoming 2023-2024 budget cycle.

Even though the Arkansas Lottery makes hundreds of millions of dollars every year, relatively little money goes to students — and regular taxpayers still end up footing part of the bill for the scholarships.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Photo Credit: Powerball and Mega Millions Lottery Billboard in Missouri by Tony Webster, on Flickr.

Arkansas Lottery Still Banking On Expensive Scratch-Off Tickets

Over the years we have written time and again about expensive scratch-off tickets at the Arkansas Lottery — tickets that sell for $10 or $20 apiece instead of $1 or $2.

Scratch-off lottery tickets are controversial, because they are associated with problem gambling and gambling addiction.

In the past, researchers have compared scratch-off tickets to “paper slot machines.”

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions found a link between how often a person played scratch-off tickets and the severity of a person’s gambling problem.

High-dollar scratch-off tickets are even more controversial, because the combination of long odds and big jackpots may encourage people to buy them out of desperation.

For example, in November of 2021 the Arkansas Lottery rolled out its “$1,000,000 Riches” scratch-off ticket.

The ticket sells for $20. The odds of winning the top prize of $1 million are approximately 1 in 800,000.

Scratch-off tickets like this one offer big payouts to people who may be living on very little money.

That means they are likely to entice people to play the lottery out of desperation in hopes of “hitting it big.”

Statistically speaking, a person who spends $20 on one of these scratch-off tickets has a two-thirds chance of losing.

Right now the Arkansas Lottery sells several varieties of scratch-off tickets for $10 and $20 each.

The vast majority of the money the Arkansas Lottery makes from scratch-off tickets pays for prizes for a handful of lottery players. Very little goes to Arkansas’ students.

As long as the Arkansas Lottery continues to operate this way, it will keep preying on the poor and desperate, and the Lottery’s scholarship funding will remain low.