This New York Times article is a few days old, but with all the lottery talk in Arkansas this week and the gloomy economic headlines, it’s worth another look: State lotteries enjoy enhanced sales during economic slowdowns.
Just to review a few issues in the Arkansas lottery debate:
Billionaire Jim Walton handed anti-lottery forces a $75,000 check this week to combat the ballot initiative, which is pretty generous, considering he could have used that money to capture homeless people off the streets and hunt them for sport on his private island. I mean, I presume that’s what billionaires do. Isn’t it?
Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who’s pushing the lottery initiative, held a news conference on Tuesday to announce that former University of Arkansas chief John White is backing the proposal. Capitol reporters pointed out that White had backed the proposal a year ago, and wondered why Halter was wasting their time with a news conference for something they already knew.
By the way, Arkansas Watch blogger Mark Moore dropped off an extended comment in an earlier post in which he argues against the lottery on the grounds that more spending on higher education is the last thing Arkansas needs. An unconventional perspective, and worth a look.