Arkansas Lottery profits come up 2 per cent of target

Arkansas Lottery profits come up 2 per cent of targetArkansas Lottery profits come up 2 per cent of target

LITTLE ROCK, ARK – Arkansas Lottery Commission announced on Thursday that they learned that profits for the fiscal year will come up 2 per cent short of projections.

In another piece of bad news for the Arkansas Lottery, commission members were annoyed that they had not been told about a contract the lottery had signed.

Ernie Passailaigue, the much maligned Arkansas Lottery director, projected a profit of $105 million, all of which would go toward college scholarships. He later revised the profit total to $100 million and said Thursday that it would be closer to $98 million. Thursday marked the close of the 2011 state fiscal year.

Arkansas’ relatively new state lottery has faced higher costs than expected due to the incredibly high popularity of scratch cards and instant games. Instant win games have a much higher cost to the lottery than draw games like Powerball and Mega Millions.

Passailaigue was quick to add that lottery revenue was double what was projected for the first year and reminded members that the lottery started in September 2009, four months before the expected start date of January 2010.

Close to thirty thousand students in Arkansas received college scholarships last year. Passailaigue said the Higher Education Department is expected to announce totals for the fall semester at the regular commission meeting on July 13.

Commissioners criticise lack of communication of new contract –

Commissioners Steve Faris and Bruce Engstrom, both new to the commission, told Passailaigue that they should have been informed about the signing of a backup software storage contract before the deal was sealed, though the contract was only for $1,300 for the year.

“My biggest criticism, if you can call it that, is a lack of communication between what I perceive anyway to be a lack of communication between the commission staff and the commissioners about what happens here on a day-to-day basis,” Faris said after the meeting.

Engstrom criticized Passailaigue for not arranging for the backup storage a year or more earlier and pointed to a 2010 report that said the backup was necessary.

Backup software is needed if Intralot, the Greek company that runs the lottery’s draw games, loses its contract or runs into financial trouble so the lottery can access its data.

Mr. Passailaigue said that Intralot runs lotteries around the world and also has similar data arrangements with seven state lotteries.

According to a company spokesperson, Intralot has three backups of the live system running, two in Arkansas and one in Ohio.

Published: July 1, 2011

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