Where's the outrage on Arkansas Lottery? | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 23, 2012

Where's the outrage on Arkansas Lottery?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Catching up this morning on a sketchy Internet connection, I read Lindsey Millar's update on Ernie Passailaigue's legacy as director of the Arkansas Lottery.

A catchy moniker is needed, something akin to, say, the South Carolina Swindle. The Ernie P. era, we now know, won't be distinguished only by the $800,000 in pay and lavish leave bestowed on the Palmetto State Posse who got our lottery off the ground. The biggest rip was the sweetheart deal Ernie P. set up with major lottery vendor Scientific Games.

Internal auditing has revealed that the deal — including a crucial amendment approved by nobody but Ernie P. — has cost Arkansas roughly SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS. Scientific Games wants to pay a $2 million rebate for the state to forget the whole thing and continue its sweetheart contract terms.

Let me point out what $7 million means to real people, as opposed to lottery executives and lobbyists:

* SCHOLARSHIPS: $2 million worth*. FOUR HUNDRED scholarships at $5,000 per year, the first-year rate, more at the current level.

* GAMBLING WINNINGS: $5 million worth. That's a $10 payoff on FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND TICKETS.

Making the state whole would be a messy business. Ending the sweetheart deal also would be legally contentious. It also — and this is key — could expose lax oversight by the legislature and commission. You can understand a desire to sweep all this under the rug and move along. Let's not. Where's the outrage from all those running for office this year on good government platforms?

*An earlier version of this post confused the scholarship and gambling winnings numbers.

Tags: ,


Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Is Arkansas in or out on Kobach voter data effort?

    The Washington Post has published a map that counts Arkansas as among states that will "partially comply" with a sweeping request for voter data by the so-called election integrity commission set up by Donald Trump in an effort to cast doubt on Hillary Clinton's 3 million-vote popular defeat of him in 2016.
    • Jul 2, 2017
  • Greenbrier's paddling of student protester goes worldwide

    The paddling of Greenbrier High School students who joined in te national school walkout Wednesday has produced headlines worldwide.
    • Mar 17, 2018
  • Rep. Mary Bentley's website now supports gay rights

    Somebody has cybersquatted on Republican Rep. Mary Bentley's website, replacing her messaging with a call for equal rights for LGBTQ people.
    • Jul 18, 2017


Most Recent Comments


© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation