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.