The action took place this afternoon during a regularly scheduled meeting.
The Multi-State Lottery Association extended the invitation last month, and Lottery Executive Director Ernie Passailaigue had urged the commission to accept.
Powerball is known for its often soaring jackpots. It is currently played in 30 states, along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Now that the commission has approved Powerball, Passailaigue says Arkansans could buy the first tickets by December. Half of all the ticket money from Powerball will stay in the state.
He says games like Powerball can make so much money he might sell those tickets before the state's own games like Daily 5 or Pick 4.
Also on the Lottery Commission's agenda, state legislators are going to have to approve millions in start up money. Passailaigue will appear before the Legislative Oversight Committee at the State Capitol tomorrow asking for it.
Passailaigue says to get the lottery going, and to get scratch off tickets sold by October 29th (see note below), he will need about five-million-dollars, which could be paid off within the first two weeks of sales.
"I'm confident. I rest my political future on the fact I can deliver this lottery the way we all have envisioned," Passailaigue says.
Next, he asked the state to hire two administrative level assistants from South Carolina, two who are currently seeking his old job there. He wants them to start at $225,000 a year each. Passailaigue's salary is more than 300-thousand.
He says he knows that will create headlines, possibly give the commissioners heartburn, but says the two can operate efficiently.
"My concept of budgeting is every dollar that is generated from this Arkansas Lottery belongs to the people of Arkansas. It is not my money, I'm spending somebody else's money and I will be frugal and I know that's hard for you. I don't think I can prove to anybody here, but I've given you statistics how I operated in South Carolina," Passailaigue told the commission.
The state could have opted to play Mega Millions instead of Powerball.
"Mega Millions is generally large population states, California, New York, you see what i'm saying?," Passailaigue told the commission.
Passailaigue believes once the lottery is up and running, it could generate more than one million dollars a day for the state.
The lottery director also talked about monitor games like Keno. He says he believes they are legal, but not a top priority right now. If he pursues something like that, he says, it would not be for another year or two.
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.]