LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas lottery announced earlier this week a modest sales growth powered by Powerball and Mega Millions ticket sales, the Associated Press reports.
Total lottery sales for the state were up $10 million to $474 million for the 2012 fiscal year, which ended last weekend.
Lottery Director Bishop Woosley has focused on promoting sales of draw games, including Powerball and Mega Millions, because they offer high profit margins than instant tickets, which remain the most popular choice for Arkansas lottery players.
Last fiscal year, Arkansas players spent $392.3 million (82.8%) of total lottery spending on scratch tickets and $81.7 million (17.2%) on draw tickets. Despite the disparity, the proportion of draw ticket sales is on the rise. Last year, 15.9% of sales were spent on numbers games.
"We've done a little better in the sale of our more profitable draw tickets. Three years of experience has taught us how to best focus advertising dollars and the preferences of Arkansas players," Woosley said.
Lottery Commission Chairman Ben Pickard said the increase in sales came during a transition period for the lottery. Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue resigned in September along with two deputies. The lottery was also working to correct issues raised in a highly critical state audit of the lottery's finances under Passailaigue.
"I commend the great work of the lottery staff for getting through a difficult year and keeping their eye on the ball to get this done. All of us know our only mission is to maximize scholarship dollars," Pickard said.