Arkansas Lottery chief faces mounting pressure in 2011

Arkansas Lottery chief faces mounting pressure in 2011Arkansas Lottery chief faces mounting pressure in 2011

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Arkansas Lottery director Ernie Passailaigue last week survived another attempt to have him fired from his position at the United States’ youngest state lottery.

The fact that he survived the vote to keep him as the most important employee of the Arkansas Lottery will boost his confidence, but will also allow critics of his reign another opportunity to scrutinise his performance and the lottery’s results in the next year.

Arkansas lawmakers have no say in the hiring and firing of lottery employees as they set it up as an independent agency. The states role in the day to day running of the Arkansas Lottery is also highly limited.

The state’s legislature has been highly critical of Passailaigue’s administration and Governor Mike Beebe said, “I think they’ll face more scrutiny, yeah. I think the legislators have sounded that bell.” Beebe has also recently said that Passailaigue needs to go if the lottery doesn’t quickly address problems that surfaced in a recent review.

The early signs for the Arkansas Lottery were good as games sold well and have continued to be poplular over the first year  of Passailaigue’s tenure. The sales figures continue to do well, however the lottery’s legislative oversight committee plans to keep a close eye on way the games are run after the legislative audit was published last month.

Auditors said the lottery didn’t seek approval for some vendor contracts and kept incomplete travel records for Passailaigue and other top officials.

Committee members voted last month to meet every other month to check on the progress of the lottery commission in fixing its trouble spots.

Despite criticism of Passailaigue, it has to be remembered that it was his running of the lottery that saw an incredibly quick start up of the games with almost no complications and which has raised over $113 million for educational causes in the state since the lottery began selling scratch cards in September 2009.

Published: December 14, 2010

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