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New director, new ideas for Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

After a rocky first two years, the lottery has new leadership and new ideas. Lawmakers heard first hand Tuesday the idea of buying tickets without cash.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - After a rocky first two years, the lottery has new leadership and new ideas. Lawmakers heard first hand Tuesday the idea of buying tickets without cash.

New lottery director Bishop Woosley says buying tickets with a debit card is just an idea right now, no formal plans to implement it yet.

You could see some pretty significant change to Arkansas lottery games this year not only in what you play, but how.

"More and more people aren't carrying cash. Debit cards essentially represent electronic cash," Woosley says.

Woosley said Tuesday more than 30 other states already allow debit card purchases, but he faced questions from skeptical legislators.

"My real concern is about credit. Credit gambling I think that's a bad precedent for us to set," St. Sen. Randy Laverty (D-Jasper) says.

"Well I don't see it going any further than purchasing tickets by debit card,” Woosley told reporters afterwards.

In his month on the job, Woosley has already added Facebook and Twitter pages to keep players updated on games and promotions.

He told the Legislative Oversight Committee he also wants to add a 5-number draw game, similar to Powerball and MegaMillions but for Arkansas players only. The average jackpot would be $158,000.

Woosley says it's all about new ideas to create more money for scholarships.

The lottery commission would have to take up ideas on new games or playing with debit cards. Woosley hopes an Arkansas lotto draw game can start in the fall.

The oversight committee also approved Woosley salary at $165,000 annually. The previous director, Ernie Passailaigue, earned $330,000.
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