Ernie Passailaigue says he hopes the state begins selling scratch off tickets by October 29th (see note below) and selling Powerball tickets by early 2010.
Passailaigue says he believes once the lottery is up and running Arkansas could see 1.5 million-dollars a day in sales.
But Passailaigue tells KARK 4 that another potential game causing some controversy is of very little significance right now. On a scale from one to 10, he'd rate it about a five.
He's talking about monitor style games, or what some states call draw games, referred to as Keno, where numbers are drawn frequently, sometimes 20 at a time, and are displayed on a monitor.
The lottery legislation passed this year allows for other types of tickets like scratch offs, but did not permit video gambling, so there is some confusion as to whether monitor games fit the definition of a lottery.
House Speaker Robbie Wills says the legislature left that decision up to the commission.
"Being a new state lottery, what we wanted to do is make sure we didn't have anything in the Arkansas code from pre-lottery days that would get in the lottery commision's way of being able to decide for themselves what to do," says Wills. "We wanted to give the lottery commission a lot of autonomy for them to decide for themselves what types of games would be offered. Other states offered instant tickets, scratch off tickets."
Passailaigue says he would need a written opinion from the Arkansas Attorney General before proceeding with monitor games. Some see it as more casino style gaming, and the fact the legislation is unclear is unsettling to groups like Family Council of Arkansas.
"Lottery law passed by the legislature was extremely vague, left almost everything wide open, now I think people are beginning to look at this law and say what have we done," says Jerry Cox with Family Council of Arkansas. "If you have any kind of gaming machine or situation where it gathers people into a group and they all gather up and gamble then you create all kinds of other issues with crime," says Cox.
Passailaigue tells KARK 4 that scratch off tickets will start about one to 10 dollars each, but some could be sold as high as 20 dollars apiece in the future.
Powerball is played in 30 states, along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Click here for more information from the Arkansas Lottery section of ArkansasMatters.com.
[Note: Since this story was published, the Lottery Commission has decided to start scratch-off sales on September 28th, Powerball ticket sales on October 31st, and Arkansas draw games ticket sales on December 14th.]