Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

EDITORIAL >> Lottery on path to gross $500M

The Arkansas lottery is proving more popular than the Razorbacks. The lottery is off to a fast start: Arkansans bought some $10 million worth of tickets the first week the games started. Itís on track to gross $500 million a year. Even the Razorbacks donít produce that kind of revenue, but those figures are up there with wagering at Oaklawn and Southland tracks, where all kinds of gambling is allowed.

We suspected all along Arkansans liked to gamble: You couldnít miss the Arkansas license plates in neighboring states where casinos are allowed. At least now much of that money that was gambled away across the border will stay at home and presumably help students get college scholarships ó maybe as much as $100 million a year.

Many people hate the idea of the lottery, but thousands of their neighbors, who voted to approve the lottery amendment last year, are betting they will hit the jackpot and buy their dream home and get out of debt. Or go broke trying and forget about clothes or shoes for the kids.

Wait till the Powerball games start on Oct. 31. Revenues are expected to surge, although lottery officials are lowballing anticipated income so they can point to skyrocketing revenues as proof of their brilliance.

One day, lottery fever will come back to earth. Thatís when you can expect a push for casinos ó they already exist at Oaklawn and Southland ó along the Arkansas River. Donít say we didnít warn you.