Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) Secretary Larry Walther announced Tuesday (July 14) that Bishop Woosley, director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, has submitted his resignation effective Aug. 3 to pursue other opportunities.
Michael Helms, chief counsel for lottery, will serve as interim director as the search is underway for a new director. A timetable for finding a new director was not released. What other opportunities Woosley plans to pursue also wasn’t noted.
“Since the lottery launched in Arkansas in 2009, Bishop has played a critical role in its success, overseeing a record amount of scholarships for Arkansas students,” said Walther. “I appreciate his leadership and wish him all the best as he moves forward in his career.”
Woosley joined the lottery in 2009 as chief legal counsel. He was named director in 2012. During his tenure, lottery sales have expanded at record rates. In 2019, about $516.23 million in sales were recorded, about $16 million more than was sold in 2018.
More than 92 cents of every dollar of lottery revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions and other expenses in Arkansas. Since 2009, the lottery also has awarded more than $2.9 billion in prizes to players, about $252 million in commissions to retailers and more than $126 million in state and federal tax revenue. Those figures don’t include the latest fiscal year which ended June 30.
Arkansans approved a Scholarship Lottery via a statewide vote in 2008. Since that time, Lottery has provided 542,000 scholarships to Arkansas students. There are 1,967 lottery retailers throughout the state.