High-Tech Security Stands Guard Over Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

by George Waldon  on Monday, Sep. 28, 2009 12:00 am  

Lance Huey, left, director of security for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, and Remmele Mazyck, deputy security director, watch over the launch of the state's first four games.

His familiarity with Arkansas people was considered a boon to help connect the unfamiliar lottery with the state.

"That's why I was brought on, to bridge that gap," Huey said.

His third-floor digs overlooking Capitol Avenue have the vibe of a sheriff's office with a 10-point white-tail mounted on the wall behind his desk, a mallard on the wing frozen in flight on another wall and a healthy dose of plaques and photos dominated by family and law enforcement paraphernalia.

He and his staff can't arrest anyone, and they don't have any police powers. For now, Huey doesn't foresee a need for that to change either.

Louisiana is among the states that granted its lottery security staff police powers, but officials there used their badges only once, when a local sheriff refused to arrest a lottery criminal in his jurisdiction.

Remmele Mazyck, deputy security director, also came to Arkansas from South Carolina, where he was the No. 3 man in the lottery security chain of command. His experience with lottery security was among his chief qualifications.

Two part-time positions round out the lottery security staff. These two will work on the draws for the random number "Cash 3" and "Cash 4" games, with current plans calling for daily draws at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Winners in these lotteries, which aren't scheduled to start action until Nov. 1, are chosen by a random number generator selected randomly from one of three machines.

The drawings will be held in a secure room on the restricted-access third floor of the Union Plaza building in downtown Little Rock. The room has a viewing window so that escorted visitors with security passes can watch a draw.

Both the third and first floors, home to the lottery claims office, are equipped with walk-in vaults. The vaults are leftover amenities from the building's former owner, Union National Bank, not a repository for mounds of lottery loot.

"We're not up here sitting on bagfuls of money," Huey said. "All prizes will not be issued in cash."

In fact, the claims office will only pay winnings by check. In-store cash payouts are limited to $500 or less.

A codified security feature spells out an ineligible player list that extends from lottery employees to their spouses, children, in-laws, parents, grandparents and even grandparents-in-law. The Arkansas lottery law is one of the strictest with this nod to anti-nepotism.

Huey said this part of his job was the source of some ribbing from his dad: "He said he wasn't happy that he wouldn't get a chance to recoup all the money spent raising me."



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