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New Arkansas Lottery Director Wants to Boost Sales

2 min read

LITTLE ROCK – The new director of Arkansas’ lottery said Monday that he wants to focus on boosting ticket sales and that he does not plan to hire vice presidents for the commission.

Bishop Woosley, who was hired by the commission Saturday, said he will rely on the games’ directors and left open the possibility of eventually hiring a chief operating officer for the organization.

"We want to increase sales. We want to increase the amounts for scholarships," Woosley told The Associated Press. "That’s our sole objective, that’s our entire mission and that’s why we’re there."

Voters approved the lottery in 2008 to raise money for college scholarships, with the first tickets being sold in 2009.

Woosley, who had been the lottery’s chief legal counsel, says his primary goal is to improve lottery ticket sales – particularly in draw games such as Powerball and Mega Millions, rather than scratch-off tickets. He said he also wants to find new ways to promote the games through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Woosley said he will look at ways the lottery can save money and cut expenses, particularly with the claims centers the lottery has set up around the state for winners to cash in their prizes.

The lottery’s interim director in December told the lottery commission the games were on track to raise $89 million for scholarships this fiscal year, which is roughly $5 million less than was raised the previous year.

He will take over for Ernie Passailaigue who resigned in September after criticism over his management of the games and his $324,000 annual salary. Woosley will be paid $165,000 annually.

"I’m going to be very involved from a personal standpoint with my directors," Woosley said. "My directors are going to report directly to me in the short term. I’ve advised (the commission) that if I ever need that COO position, I’ll come back to them. For now, it’s going to be me and my directors and staff."

State law sets the lottery director’s maximum salary at $141,603, but the director can be paid up to $354,000 if approved by a legislative committee. The Lottery Commission last week capped the director’s salary at $175,000 in response to the criticism over Passailaigue’s pay.

Woosley said part of the reason for not hiring new vice presidents was the criticism the lottery received over the pay he and his two deputies received. The lottery’s two vice presidents were paid about $225,000 a year.

"Obviously that goes into it, but one of the things I’m interested in is being deeply involved with every division and learning," he said. "We have a great staff and great directors who are very knowledgeable and I can learn from them just as much as they can learn from me."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast or distributed.)

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