Local businesses are starting to apply to be lottery retailers for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.
Branch Satterfield of Satterfield Oil Company said he had applied to be a retailer through his local convenience stores.
"If you have a convenience store, you need to sell lottery tickets to be competitive in the market," Satterfield said.
Joe White of Conway who serves on the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Commission said when the lottery starts, commission members hope to have 2,500 retailers statewide.
"Cover the whole state, all 75 counties," White said.
Although the commission hopes to have a number of vendors in each county, he will not be one of them. As a commissioner, White said he would not be selling lottery tickets in his store, the Westside Station at the intersection of Prince and Hogan.
District 45 State Rep. Linda Tyler, who serves on the Arkansas Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee, said as of Tuesday, 600 retailers had officially submitted paper work to sell lottery tickets.
Retailers are the front line for the lottery and will receive a portion of the lottery sales. White said the minimum commission on a sale is 5 percent with the largest commission being almost 7 percent.
"They can make a little money on the sale of tickets," White said. "It will also drive traffic into the store."
White said he was aware of Satterfield’s interest and suspected that other convenience stores, especially chains along I-40 would also be applying to be a retailer. White said he expects most major convenience store groups to apply to be retailers.
Although one of the lottery vendors said they can have part of the system running by Sept. 28, White said that date is not one the commission set.
"The commission initially said the end of October. In a proposal, a vendor said it could be ready by Sept. 28. This was not a date the commission or the staff set," White said. "I still feel good about October."
Tyler said Intralot, the vendor for online games had proposed the Sept. 28 start date. Intralot is a Greek company that has its U.S. base in Georgia. Tyler said she thinks the Sept. 28 deadline is for the benefit of Intralot and not the lottery system.
The oversight committee is reviewing the contract with Intralot, which was the only company to make a bid on the online games. That contract has not been reviewed by the committee, according to Tyler, meaning committee members still have a few questions.
"When you only have one bidder, you scrutinize far more carefully," Tyler said.
Tyler said her concern with the Sept. 28 deadline is that the lottery must be set up correctly in a short amount of time.
"We don’t want to rush and have issues," Tyler said, adding that the commission would have to work aggressively if they were to have the lottery ready by Sept. 28.
White said he would not be upset if the lottery could start earlier rather than later.
"It would be great if we could start earlier. That would mean more money for scholarships for Arkansans," White said. "Earlier would be wonderful."
To apply to be a retailer, business owners can go to the Lottery Commission web site: www.lotterycommission.arkansas.gov. Owners can download the application, retailer marketing evaluation and site survey, electronic fund transfer authorization form, landlord approval and individual record check form.