Powerball gives lottery boost; officials hoped for more


LITTLE ROCK — A Powerball jackpot that reached a record $590 million last week boosted revenue for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, though not as much as lottery officials had hoped.

State Lottery Director Bishop Woosley told the Arkansas Lottery Commission on Monday that Powerball ticket sales in the state totaled about $2.4 million on Saturday, the day the jackpot was hit by a ticket purchased in Florida. That’s about $1 million less than the highest day of Powerball ticket sales when the jackpot exceeded $500 million in November, he said.

“Probably what you’re seeing is just the time of year. May is just typically not a time of year when we have great sales,” he said.

People often begin traveling or saving for a summer vacation in May, Woosley told reporters later.

The Powerball jackpot was not as high as the $656 million jackpot reached by Mega Millions last year.

“We hope it’s not the jackpot fatigue, where a $600 million jackpot is not all that interesting anymore,” Woosley told the commission.

As of April 31, the lottery had collected net proceeds of $71.4 million since the fiscal year began on July 1, down from $80.8 million at the same time a year ago. Lottery officials have projected a net income for scholarships of $90 million for the year.

Woosley said he hoped May’s proceeds would make up for flagging sales earlier in the fiscal year.

“Hopefully we’ll knock a chunk out of what we’re behind and come into where we want to be or a little bit more,” he said.

Also Monday, the commission elected George Hammons of Warren its new chairman. Ben Pickard of Searcy has completed his one-year term as chairman but remains on the commission.