Lottery commission makes changes to increase sales

Lottery commission makes changes to increase sales

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Though there was a slight increase in scratch-off ticket sales in the last month of 2014, overall sales for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery are down across the state.

Now, the lottery commission is making changes to bring the numbers up.

For Region 8 resident Jackie DeJarnette, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is a game of chance he doesn't like to pass up.

"I've always been a gambler," DeJarnette said. "I've got to, I've got 9 kids!"

DeJarnette is one of many who play and one of a few who have won.

"One day, I stopped and I got $40 worth of gas and so I said give me four #9's because I was on pump 9," DeJarnette said. "The first one I scratched, $50, $50, $50."

On that ticket, he won $750. Though that might not seem like much to some, DeJarnette was happy.

"When you hit, whether it's a big one or a little one, it's just the thrill of 'hey, I won, I took a chance!'" he said.

However, according to lottery sales in the Natural State, not as many people are taking that chance anymore.

In Region 8 and statewide, sales are down since the lottery started five years ago.

Consultants brought in to look at the declining numbers stated too many games and a lack of trust in the lottery caused that drop in sales.

In an interview last month, lottery director Bishop Woosley said their goal was to bring numbers back up by rebranding.

"So when someone sees a lottery commercial and see a lottery ad, they instantaneously know it's a lottery ad, they know that it is for scholarships and it benefits students," Woosley said.

Regardless, DeJarnette said he'll continue to play, even though not all of his tickets are winners.

"If I get my money back, or even part of it, I'm happy," DeJarnette said.

Lawmakers are looking at ways to fix the scholarship lottery as well as several bills make the rounds in Little Rock.

One bill would abolish the lottery commission. Control over the scholarship lottery would then be placed under the Department of Higher Education.

Another bill would adjust the requirements for the scholarship as well as when some students receive it.

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