The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is taking steps to address gambling addiction. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said problem gambling behavior includes anything that harms the participant’s personal or professional life.
He says the lottery works to ensure their contests don’t mislead consumers.
“From the game design all the way down to the actual areas where we sell, we try and be as responsible as we can,” Woosley said, "and not create an environment where someone is expecting they’re [going to] get rich from playing the lottery or that they’re [going to] be able to pay off debts or things of that nature.”
As the number of casinos in the state expand, the lottery is also preparing for a potential rise in problem gambling. In 2018, voters approved allowing four full-fledged casinos in the state.
In response, the lottery worked to receive the Responsible Gambling Certification from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries and the National Council on Problem Gambling last summer.
Woosley said the lottery finished its certification in an effort to ensure the lottery doesn’t contribute to problem gambling in the state.
“That’s why we went in and got the certification that we did to do what we can,” Woosley said, "because we want to do our part in making sure that people... have the help they need, and our retailers and our people within the lottery have the help they need to make sure we’re not exacerbating [problem gambling] or doing things that may encourage someone to play more than they need to.”
Woosley said the certification is a self-policing measure and is reviewed on a yearly basis.