Step right up, suckers
Tennessee Ernie Ford might put it this way: “You buy 16 lottery tickets and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt/Saint Peter, don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go/ I owe my soul to the Arkansas Lottery.” (Well, the original version rhymes better.)
The convenience stores and other one-stop ways to leave folks in Arkansas deeper in debt are the only ones who seem to have figured out the odds. They know the house always wins, but just can’t figure out how much. For the moment they can’t seem to decide whether the cost of accepting debit cards would be greater than the commission they collect on every ticket sold. It sounds like a win-win choice compared to the lose-lose one faced by the vast majority of those so addicted to the Lottery that they plunk down their hard-earned money without thinking about it.
One owner of a store in Little Rock says he wants to be certain that, if he accepts debit cards, he’ll at least break even. But he doubts it’ll make much of a difference in his store’s profit-and-loss statement at the end of the year. Anyway, he adds, “very few people” have asked to use their debit cards for lottery tickets in the past.
There’s almost no end of ways for addicted customers to accumulate debt in this state, and most are perfectly legal. But not through old-fashioned credit cards and checks, says Bishop Woosley, director of the Arkansas Lottery, who’s in the business of parting fools from their money. And they may not realize how quickly the process, like any other sin, can take hold of a soul.