Arkansas residents prepare to vote on state lottery

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - Just a few weeks from now, on November 4,  Arkansas residents will vote on a state lottery.

Monday, Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter is visited West Memphis to urge voters to support a lottery.  Supporters of the proposed amendment say all of the money generated will go towards education.
"We believe that the lottery will provide 100 million dollars a year in scholarships assistance for Arkansans," Halter said.

The Lt. Governor told members of the West Memphis Rotary Club a lottery would triple the amount of state based financial assistance available for Arkansas students to go to college.

"It's a very large need in the state of Arkansas," Halter said. "We're currently 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of our adult population that has a college degree ,and that's simply not the way to prepare for the jobs and the economy of the 21st century."

Halter said a large number of Arkansas residents already go to Tennessee and other surrounding states to play the lottery.  Now, he said, it is time to bring some of that money home.

However, West Memphis residents' feelings about a lottery seem to be mixed.

"Yes I do I really thinks that's a good idea because these kids need to go to college and get an education," West Memphis voter Letha Davis said.

"I'll vote against it," Wesley Woodard countered.  "I'm against gambling, period. It makes the community go bad."

Halter said attempts to get a lottery in Arkansas have failed in the past because proposals have been tied to casino gaming. But now, he is hoping that earmarking all the lottery money for education will change some minds.

"There certainly is always going to be opposition on these ballot proposals, but I feel very good about where we stand right now in terms of public opinion ," Halter said.

Halter said a lottery would not conflict or compete with dog racing and electronic games of chance already going on in the state.

Southland Greyhound officials said they do not exactly know what impact a lottery would have on their business and they are taking a wait and see approach.

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