Privatize it? | Arkansas Blog

Privatize it?

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Illinois is looking into privatizing their lottery to help the state muddle through budget woes. The idea actually began back in 2006 with then-governor Rod Blagojevich. Many states have toyed with the idea, but have been unwilling to follow through. Could it eventually happen here? Maybe. If other states are thinking about it, then Arkansas may one day ponder privatization as revenues eventually decrease. Maybe Stephens Inc. or Walmart could run the lottery?

What could you expect from a privatized lotto operation? In his book "Lottery Wars," Matt Sweeney discusses the issue at some length. Here's a tidbit:

A private lottery would likely target its marketing more than state government dares... The largest [untapped market] of all is the youth market. Lotteries, in general, have an aging customer base. Younger players are drawn to scratch tickets and would be thrilled if they could play over the Internet, their cell phones, PDAs or other direct handheld devices. Though still illegal in the United States, such wagering may only be a matter of time as it expands in Europe.

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