The Family Council is wagging a finger at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.
It says, based on lottery reports obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, some of the poorest counties in the state have the highest sales rates.
Family Council Communications Director Josh Mesker says they received a list of lottery sales by county and divided it by the county's population (according to the 2010 U.S. Census) to calculate a per person average.
Mesker says, according to the information they received, the lottery has racked up more than $1.2 billion in sales since it first started Powerball tickets in October of 2009, or $420 per person in the state.
But the average Jefferson County resident has bought more than $700 in lottery tickets, and in Nevada County it's more than $900 (more than 20 percent of people in both counties live below the poverty line, according to the census).
Mesker says the numbers show the lottery is selling the most tickets to the people who can least afford them. He says the same trend can be seen in other states with lotteries, and one of the reasons the Family Council was opposed to the lottery's creation.
"It is undeniably true that the poorer people in other states (that have lotteries like we have), play the most because they're trying to get out of their desperate situation, and it's quite sad," Mesker said.
Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Spokesperson Julie Baldridge says, with the exception of Jefferson County, the top five counties for ticket sales all have median incomes above the state average. She says the lottery is a legal enterprise, is run by the state, and was approved by 63 percent of Arkansas voters.
She added the lottery doesn't want money from three sources: anyone under the age of 18, anyone playing with non-discretionary income, and anyone who expects to win.
Most importantly, Baldridge says, the purpose of the lottery is to provide scholarships for Arkansas students going to college, and so far they've awarded around 65,000.