Wheel of fortune 

Thanks to leadership of Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, Arkansas will vote this year on legalizing a state lottery, profits to go to college scholarships.

What's not to like?

Answer: The list is long. Profits will be the losses of gamblers, many of whom will be people who can't afford to spend their grocery money on lottery tickets. But we're libertarians on spending. If food stamp recipients prefer steak to beans, that's their business. Same for the house-poor of the ritzy western suburbs.

The experience in other states suggests that lottery-financed scholarships will become a middle-class entitlement program. It won't necessarily send more people to college; it will use lottery players to subsidize those already college-bound.

The lottery, inevitably, will require ever greater marketing and ever expanding gambling options to produce increasing revenue. With this certainty comes the fear of casino-style gambling options, such as video lottery terminals in convenience stores. It is fair to contemplate whether the public's government should be in the slot machine business.

Despite the gloss of cautionary wording, the amendment will give comfort to legislators when they tighten higher education spending in years ahead.

Finally, in making a legal defense of the lottery amendment, its backers have answered criticism that it could open the door to casino gambling by saying that there is no constitutional bar to casinos today. They say it already takes only a simple vote of the legislature to legalize casino gambling. It seems likely then that successful legal defense of the lottery amendment will be followed by redoubled efforts to transform the existing racinos at Southland and Oaklawn Parks into the full-fledged Vegas-style slot parlors.

There's one powerful argument for the lottery.  Arkansas is an island amid a sea of gambling states. If Arkansans are going to play the lottery — and they already do — why should they not do it at home? We confess our own attraction to the cheap thrill of millionaire daydreams purchased by a $1 ticket.

In short: Many of us here probably will vote for the lottery amendment. But conscience prevents us from urging the same course on others.


For Mayor Hays

North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays' grand schemes and easy spending of tax money on private interests has been lampooned by opponents lately, with some justification. We've poked fun at his rusty mothball fleet, too. But the big picture is that he's a steady, can-do leader with a revitalized city core to recommend his re-election to another term.



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Arkansas 2016: the microclimate election

    In the lead-up to the past four Arkansas election cycles, the forecast has been a fairly simple one: strong winds blowing in the GOP direction.
  • The big loser

    So now the big crybaby says he's losing because his opponent is crooked and the referees are blind.
  • Trumped in Arkansas

    After two solid debates and the release of a video and corroborating testimony that further confirmed the misogyny of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidential election Nov. 8

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The big loser

    • Here's some more information for the investigator from the Enquirer. It's a confession from somebody…

    • on October 21, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

    • Nobody here but you said anything bad about Shelton. Nothing that happened to her was…

    • on October 21, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

    • P.S. - To show you how incredibly honest I am - I said above that…

    • on October 21, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation