With the Arkansas lottery’s start-up phase now given over entirely to controversy and infighting, I wanted to direct your attention to a couple of observers on the scene who are offering some helpful insights on the whole mess:
Blogger Jason Tolbert, who’s reported tirelessly on lottery news at The Tolbert Report, has written a solid and thoughtful op-ed piece over at the Arkansas News Bureau site assessing the lottery’s problems to date. Tolbert argues that many of the woes stem from legislators, commissioners and lottery officials insisting upon getting the games up and running as soon as possible—a recipe for sloppy and hasty decision-making that has undermined public trust.
And Ginny Blankenship, research and policy director for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, has a new blog that offers sharp and critical analysis on the lottery’s progress to date. Her writing on the lottery’s revenue projections—and director Ernie Passailaigue’s practice of estimating revenues by pulling numbers out of his ass (my description, not hers)—is well worth reading.
Coupla other quick hits, while we’re on the subject: Blogger Mark Moore at Arkansas Watch points up some possible problems with a legislative report on average lottery salaries, while Brett Kincaid at BlogHawgs confesses to conflicted feelings about the whole enterprise.
Check ’em all out.