Where's our lottery? | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 5, 2007

Where's our lottery?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2007 at 8:55 AM

Lunch speaker at the Clinton School today is Michael Nelson, a poli-sci prof at Rhodes College in Memphis, who'll talk about "Why Arkansas Doesn't Have Casinos or a lottery." It's open to the public.

(Nelson apparently doesn't count a collection of video poker machines, poker tables, video blackjack, wagering parlors, and coin-operated machines that pay off when certain combinations of numbers appear -- none dare call these games of skill slot machines -- as casinos. If he did, he'd note we have racinos in West Memphis and Hot Springs.)

Nelson  is author of "How the South Joined the Gambling Nation," reviewed by Bob Lancaster last week. Lancaster's take on Arkansas's lagging in gambling action is a little more colorful than Nelson is likely to be:

Arkansas sucks hind teat insofar as latter-day gambling proceeds because we have a unique coalition of Baptists and political liberals who steadfastly slap down every gambling proposal that comes along – most of them, it must be admitted, eminently deserving of being slapped down. We wouldn't even have horse-racing (or dog-racing) if we hadn't been dead-ass dirt-eating broke during the Depression, and our race tracks certainly wouldn't be sporting all these games-of-skill-ha-ha slot machines today if the gamblers hadn't finally learned that half a loaf from a bought legislature is better than the diddly-squat they were going to get by the initiative route.

But speaking of gambling, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's lottery initiative continues apace. Someday, a spokesman swears, he'll to talk to me about what form of games this lottery might include. Yes, it will be up to the legislature to decide this and predicting that future is uncertain. But as our own attorney general has noted, you could define a lottery as just about any game of chance. If a state that makes gambling unconstitutional can legalize blackjack, poker and "lock-and-load" as games of skill, you can imagine what the state legislature could do with unlimited gambling powers. Maybe a state casino worthy of Monaco. The backers at least ought to express what form the games should take as some kind of guidance for what is to come.

Other questions about the lottery: Where will the money come to get it up and running? How much will that cost? How much money will the big game sellers spend on which politicans to curry favor? And a whole lot more, including a hard look at the likely return and what impact that will have on the legislature's willingness to dig deep for educational purposes.


Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation