The new director of the Arkansas Lottery, Bishop Woosley, was on hand today at the state capitol for the kick off of the new fiscal session. Over the weekend, the Lottery Commission voted to hire Woosley as the new director. Woosley is a familiar face serving previously as general counsel for the commission.
“The vision is to follow up on our original purpose, which is to our mission to raise scholarship money,” said Woosley. “Obviously, we do that by increasing sales in a responsible manner, cutting our expenses and I think we need to start with an inside-out approach.”
Woosley has already begun the process of building relationships with members of the legislature, including the chairmen of the Lottery Oversight Committee, Rep. Barry Hyde and Sen. Johnny Key. One goal Woosley has is to return an additional one percent to lottery scholarships over what was returned last year, which would be around $4 million in additional scholarships.
One idea for doing this is to turn existing claims centers into sales centers as well. This would allow for additional revenue with little additional overhead. He also hopes to utilize new social media tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, to promote the lottery games, which would be a low-cost way to find new revenue sources.
As for the issues the lottery had under its previous lottery director, Woosley hopes that it is a thing of the past.
“One thing I want the public to know is that we have made a lot of changes already. The first audit was something we obviously learned a lot from and made some changes there. The second audit there were issues that came up – mainly the travel issues. And those were really isolated to one or two individuals within the agency.”
Woosley was referring to an audit report from Arkansas Legislative Audit that revealed some issue with the travel reimbursements of former director Ernie Passailague and former Vice President for Gaming David Barden, both of whom no longer work for the lottery.
Today was Woosley’s first Monday as the director, but so far it looks like he is off to a good start, and all for about half the price of the former director. Not a bad deal at all.
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