Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Fights Falling Sales

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jun. 2, 2014 12:00 am  

Bishop Woosley says a rebranding will revitalize the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

(A correction has been made to this article. See end for details.)

While the state’s two gambling venues are predicting green pastures and growth, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is resigned to a second consecutive decline in annual revenue.

The lottery is predicting it will end fiscal 2014 on June 30 with sales of $417 million, down 5 percent from fiscal 2013 and off 12 percent from the $474 million recorded in fiscal 2012.

Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said the commission’s plan is to hire a new marketing agency to refresh the program’s image. In the past, the commission has used the Communications Group of Little Rock for marketing jobs. On May 21 the commission sent out a request for qualifications to agencies. Bids will be opened June 5 and finalists will be notified June 12. The new push is expected to cost an additional $500,000, bringing the commission’s annual marketing budget up to $5 million.

“We’ll use the five-year anniversary as kind of a platform to rebrand, to kind of reset after five years,” Woosley said.

The lottery is also planning to release its Quick Draw monitor games, and by October, he expects the lottery will have a national premium game, which he said has been delayed several times in the past.

“The other thing we’ll be doing, not really in this fiscal year, but in January of 2015, is we’re substituting a Lucky for Life game for the Decades of Dollars game, which has underperformed by $6 million to $7 million per year since it started. So it may not sound like a lot, but it’s a pretty enormous undertaking. I would compare that to startup in the amount of work involved and the complexity of it.”

Due to these projects, the Lottery Commission has projected sales of $428 million for 2015 — less than 2013, but better than 2014.

But there’s still some uncertainty to these plans: For one thing, the Quick Draw monitor game launch hasn’t been popular with the state Legislature.

“They may go into session and ban those, and we’ll have to kind of account for the fact that that may happen,” Woosley said. “And the national game, we’re excited we’re going to launch it, but there’s quite a bit of uncertainty. The number of states that sign on makes a difference in sales. It’s hard to predict what that’s going to do. And for Lucky for Life, we have a group running a study to project sales, but we won’t know until June. We’re flying blind on the budget, but we’ll do the best we can.”

(Correction, June 5: Bids for the marketing contract were to be opened June 5. The story originally gave an incorrect date.)



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