The Arkansas Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee meets at the State Capitol this afternoon to hear how lottery officials plan to use ticket vending machines.
Despite opposition that includes conservative group Family Council, the Lottery Commission decided last week to give the machines the green light. The first machines would be put in place sometime next month.
The Lottery Commission has said the first 100 machines will bring in an additional $5 million in revenue to use toward college scholarships.
Opponents fear the machines will lead to underage gambling and cater to addicted gamblers.
Family Council President Jerry Cox restated his organization's opposition to the machines yesterday in a news release, saying “We oppose lottery vending machines because of the harm they are going to do to our state. The decision the Lottery Commission is making will open the door to other kinds of lottery machines down the road—machines that look more like slot machines. We know that will lead to increases in underage gambling, problem gambling, and gambling addiction. In 2008, the State of Arkansas busted payday lenders across the state because their lending practices were illegal. We outlaw those kinds of lending practices because of the harm they cause to Arkansas’ families. And now here the Lottery Commission wants to bring the State into a business that has the potential to cause much more social and economic harm than payday lenders ever did, and they don’t have a problem with it. Someone has to stand up and say, ‘that’s not how we do things around here.”
Cox said he has already spoken with some lawmakers about the possibility of introducing legislation to ban lottery ticket vending machines when the General Assembly meets in January.