I was able to catch part of the Lottery Oversight Committee meeting on Friday when Camelot brought its report on the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.
There was not a lot of new information from what I reported on Thursday when their report was released. Most of the presentation sounded like a rather dull internal corporation strategy session on how to make a business run more efficiently. This is certainly not a criticism and is perhaps exactly what we need a bit more of to get the lottery back on track.
One interesting recommendation was for the governor to exercise more control over the lottery. The governor needs “more skin in the game” as Camelot representatives put it. More control would give someone greater responsibility and authority over the lottery’s operations. When things go well, the governor would get credit. When things go bad, he gets the blame.
I followed up with Sam De Phillippo, Senior VP of Government Relations for Camelot, as to how they would go about this. The easiest way to accomplish this would be for the governor to appoint “at least a majority of the Commission.” Under current state law – legislation, not the amendment itself – the nine-member commission is appointed by an equal number from the governor, the Speaker of the House, and Senate Pro Tempore.
The recommendation lines up with remarks made by Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson and members of his administration during the campaign this summer. Asa expressed a desire to run the lottery much more like a state agency. Likewise his Chief of Staff Michael Lamoureux – who was the Senate Pro Tempore at the time – said that it seems “almost like nobody has control over” the lottery.
A spokesman for outgoing Gov. Mike Beebe echoed the sentiments saying Beebe “would have welcomed it. It may have made issues easier to address as they arose, but it’s nothing he would have advocated for himself.”
This is certainly something to watch. It would take legislation to modify how the Commission functions, but there certainly appears to be an appetite to at least consider this type of restructuring.
A more detailed report on the Lottery Oversight Committee meeting from our partners with KUAR can be read here.