Legislators Abolish Lottery Commission, Bring Lottery Under DF&A

Yesterday, lawmakers passed a bill abolishing the Arkansas Lottery Commission and making the Lottery part of the Department of Finance and Administration.

When the Arkansas Legislature established the Arkansas Lottery Commission in 2009, they made it an independent state agency with its own commissioners and very little outside accountability.

As a result, Arkansas has rolled out more gambling more quickly than any other state lottery we know; we have seen Lottery officials paid exorbitant salaries while college scholarships funded by the Lottery declined.

Senate Bill 7 brings more accountability to the Lottery by disbanding the Lottery Commission and making the Arkansas Lottery answerable to the Department of Finance and Administration as well as the Governor’s Office.

The bill passed unanimously in the Arkansas Senate two weeks ago, and it passed overwhelmingly in the Arkansas House yesterday.

It now goes to Governor Hutchinson, who has said he will sign it.

Lawmakers Looking to Abolish Lottery Commission

Senator Jimmy Hickey has filed a bill that would abolish the Arkansas Lottery Commission and put the Arkansas Lottery and its director under the authority of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and the governor.

The Arkansas Lottery Commission currently operates as an independent state commission with relatively little oversight. Its nine commissioners were appointed by the governor and members of the Arkansas Legislature. Senator Hickey’s proposal would bring the state lottery under the purview of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and it would cause the Arkansas Lottery Director to serve at the pleasure of the governor–just as virtually every other state agency director does.

This bill, presumably, is intended to bring more accountability and stability to the Arkansas Lottery. The Arkansas Lottery Commission set an unusual precedent last year when it voted to approve lottery “monitor games” despite objections from Arkansas’ lawmakers. As some legislators said last spring, the Arkansas Legislature created the Lottery Commission, and the Arkansas Legislature can change it. It seems that may be exactly what some lawmakers intend to do.

We will keep an eye on this bill as it develops at the Arkansas Legislature in the coming days. You can read Senator Hickey’s entire proposal here.

Call Arkansas Lawmakers to Ban Video Lottery by 5 p.m. Today

CrowdA special session of the Arkansas Legislature will be held Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Lawmakers will vote on a bill that would keep the Arkansas Lottery from installing video lottery games in businesses around the state. This bill is being blocked by a few lawmakers on the House Rules Committee. Please call the members of the House Rules Committee by 8 p.m. Monday. Ask each member to vote for a law to ban video lottery games.

Below is a list of every member of the House Rules Committee and their phone numbers. Most of these numbers are cell phones, so you can Text as well.

Representative’s Name and Phone Number:

Chair: Stephanie Malone – 479-629-5119
Vice-Chair: Andy Davis – 501-837-5109
Tommy Thompson – 501-208-2007
Darrin Williams – 501-952-6733
John Edwards – 501-680-5248
James McLean – 870-613-0617
Deborah Ferguson – 901-486-8786
Ann Clemmer – 501-912-4892
John Vines – 501-624-1252
Kelley Linck – 870-404-2741
Andrea Lea – 479-967-4922
Duncan Baird – 479-263-9449
John Burris – 870-688-6181
Mary Broadway – 870-239-1747
Jeremy Gillam – 501-940-5757

The Lottery Commission has announced plans to allow businesses to install TV monitors where patrons could gamble on Keno and other games every few minutes. Currently the games could run 24 hours a day, and there is no limit on how much a person could wager and lose.

The Arkansas Lottery Commission will install these video gambling devices in communities across the state unless the Arkansas Legislature passes a law to prevent it. Companies that make money from the lottery are lobbying hard to keep lawmakers on the House Rules Committee from allowing a vote on this important law. Your call is vital to offset these powerful moneyed gambling interests. Please call the members of the House Rules Committee today, and ask them to vote for a law to ban video lottery games.

For more information, contact Jerry Cox at Family Council: 501-375-7000.