Lottery Monitor Games Moratorium Bill Moves Forward in Special Session

- LITTLE ROCK, AR - Lottery draw games via video monitors will face a moratorium until March 2015, with both the State House and Senate voting to put the issue on pause with the temporary ban.

According to the Lottery Commission, it's trying to increase lagging lottery revenues that are used to fund scholarships, saying Arkansas has reach a point where new games have to be introduced to try and generate additional interest.

But the Natural State launched its lottery with more games than typical, and now the Commission is having to be creative with its options. That won't include the Keno style draw games commissioners had approved earlier this year. They had hoped to have those installed in September, but now it will be next March, if lawmakers don't ban the games altogether.

"My job is to operate the lottery to maximize revenue. So, if I run out of options, well, I hope I never run out of options. I'm never going to stop trying," said Lottery Commission Director Bishop Woosley.

Some lawmakers opposed to the monitor games say it isn't what the legislature intended when it approved the lottery. Though former lawmakers who were a part of that approving body have contested that, saying it was an issue that was discussed when the law passed and lawmakers wanted the commission to expand in that direction.

Ultimately, if the games are banned, the Lottery Commission will have to find a new way to generate the projected $12 million in sales that would result in more than $3 million in scholarship funds. According to Woosley, that translates into about $1,600 scholarships for Arkansas students.

Woosley said the commission will work with lawmakers to answer questions, provide additional data and work to convince those holdouts that this is the best option to generate new revenue to keep the lottery viable.

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