The Arkansas Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee met this afternoon. Lottery director Ernie Passailaigue told the committee that lottery sales had exceeded his initial expectations. The lottery has grossed $308.2 million to date with $65 million, plus interest, going into the education trust fund for scholarships. Rep. Barry Hyde questioned Passailaigue, saying the net total for scholarships now stands at about 21 percent of total revenue, short of the initial goal of 25 to 28 percent, and asked if that goal was still atainable. Passailaigue said he hoped to reach 25 percent although the goal for 2011 is set at 22 percent.
The committee thanked recently-retired lottery commission chairman Ray Thornton, who delivered a speech, recalling the early days of the lottery commission. At the end of the meeting, Family Council director and lottery opponent Jerry Cox expressed concerns over the introduction of lottery vending machines. Cox said the machines made it easier for problem gamblers and underage players to buy tickets, and asked that the committee commission a study to examine the likely affects of such machines.