Region 8 Reacts To Lottery Making It On November Ballot

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -- Paragould native Wilma Strickland is holding more than a hundred dollars in lottery tickets.

"Everytime I come, most of the time I buy 100 to 200 dollars in the lottery," said Strickland.

For 20 years, Wilma says she's been making trips to Missouri to try her luck in the lottery. Not only does she drop at least 100 hundred bucks each time, she makes the trip at least three times a week.

"Wilma says she's not alone....

"Well there is a lot of people from Arkansas that come over here because I meet them all of the time," said Strickland.

"I just don't think the lottery is what we need in the State of Arkansas," said Noel.

East Side Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Jason Noel, says one of his fears about having a lottery in Arkansas is that it will make the temptation for quick cash hard to resist for those already having a tough time making ends meet.

"The limited resources they have go toward the lottery rather than the basic needs that they have. Their social needs increase, and that's what will occur in Arkansas if we vote the lottery in," said Noel.

If the ballot measure passes, the funds generated from the lottery will be used as scholarship money for Arkansans'. Pastor Noel says helping people get through school is a good thing, but he says there's got to be a better way to do it.

"Time and time again it's been seen that when a lottery comes to a state, the state becomes predatory on it's most vulnerable citizens...the poor. I want my kids to go to college, I want all kids to go to college if they can, but I'm not willing to do that at the expense of the poor," said Noel.

As for Wilma Strickland, she says she will continue to buy lottery tickets. She says she'd like to spend that money in an Arkansas lottery, but if it doesn't pass, she says Missouri will continue to get her money.