An open line poses a lingering question for the special session: Can Oaklawn stop a lottery expansion? Plus, bad news for lottery performance and former Arkansas State Police Director John Bailey is named director of the Union Rescue Mission.
A day after the Arkansas Lottery Legislative Oversight Committee passed a motion against the lottery adding video monitor games, the Arkansas Lottery Commission today approved adding the games, which Lottery Director Bishop Woosley pitched as a way to reach to boost revenues for the flagging lottery. Who knows whether keno and such will turn around the lottery, but we do know that it'll mean more money for the lottery's largest vendor.
The state Lottery Commission heard another report on declining revenues yesterday and again lowered expectations on profits expected to put into lottery college scholarships. This was inevitable and the prospects for reversal of the trend are not bright.
A couple of stories worth noting:
* THE VIDEO LOTTERY IS BACK: In the face of stagnant revenue, the Arkansas Lottery Commission is revisting the idea of whether it should allow video lottery games such as keno, which offer repeat, fast, all-day gambling action.
That didn't take long. Arkansas started selling lottery tickets in September 2009 and three years later we have solid evidence — in a 7 percent drop in sales the last two months, according to an article in the Democrat-Gazette (pay wall) — of the inevitable maturing of the lottery.
The upcoming special session of the Arkansas General Assembly, the latest on the bid to overturn the state's voter ID law, a split emerging among Arkansas Supreme Court justices and the politics surrounding a proposal to build a Mapco on 3rd and Broadway in downtown Little Rock — all covered on this week's edition.
The tween-pop Elvis is coming to Verizon for what is guaranteed to be the most frenzied concert Little Rock sees all year. Now, the Biebs has gotten more than his fair share of criticism since his astronomical ascent from YouTube scrubbery to international megafame, but we're not interested in calling out the omnipresent young pup for his fortunes, deserved or otherwise.
Last week, Rep. Josh Miller, a Republican legislator from Heber Springs, spoke against the private option Medicaid expansion last week. He invoked FDR's New Deal — a "hand up," he said, not a "handout."
Pam Hobbs, mother of Steve Branch, one of three eight-year-olds killed in the 1993 West Memphis slayings that became the West Memphis 3 case, says new information unearthed in a new documentary, "West of Memphis," has persuaded her to call for the state of Arkansas to reopen the case.