The wee hours of Monday morning brought out a number of people to buy lottery tickets. Scratch-off tickets for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery went on sale Monday at 12:01 a.m.
As the day progressed, University of Central Arkansas President Allen Meadors stopped by Satterfield Oil on Dave Ward Drive to buy some tickets as part of the lottery launch ceremonies held across the state.
As Meadors scratched off tickets, he said, “I won a $1. I got another one.”
Meadors looked at each ticket before starting the scratch-off process.
“I think I won my $10 back,” he said as he scratched.
Meadors not only made back the money he spent on tickets, but made an $11 profit, which he donated to UCA’s foundation.
As Meadors cashed his ticket, Branch Satterfield of Satterfield Oil asked if Meadors wanted cash or more tickets.
“I will take the money and run,” Meadors said.
He then turned to others in the station.
“See how easy it is?” he asked.
Lottery Commissioner Joe White of Conway said the lottery was going well.
“We have had some minor glitches in the community,” White said. “It is up and going. Most places it is working seamlessly, and there are no problems.”
Julie Baldridge, director of public affairs and legislative relations at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, said the start up had been uncommonly smooth, with a heavy demand that lead to several locations selling out of tickets by early afternoon.
“Of course, these are being replenished quickly,” Baldridge said.
She said with the instant tickets, the total sales cannot be determined because the total sales are not accumulated through the lottery technology. As of 2 p.m., 8,500 packs had been activated. Each pack contains $300 in tickets. The number of tickets is different depending on the face value of the ticket.
By 2 p.m., Baldridge said $250,000 in prizes had been paid out. By late afternoon, the Associated Press reported nearly $450,000 in sales. Baldridge said lottery officials hope to top $1 million in gross sales Monday.
Baldridge reported by 4 p.m., “we had estimated about $600,000 in lottery sales to that time.”
White traveled to Little Rock early Monday morning to a Murphy Oil station where the first ticket was to be sold.
“People were standing in line to buy tickets at midnight,” White said.
White said for many Arkansas students the funds raised in the lottery can be a “game changer.”
“Students will have access to higher education who might not have,” White said.
Satterfield said his stores had experienced a strong response to the lottery.
“We had about 20 people here at midnight, and it has been steady ever since,” Satterfield said.
Barbara Cheak, supervisor at Tobacco Superstore on Harkrider, said by the store’s late morning count, $500 in tickets had been sold.
“The highest ticket we have paid out at this point is $40,” she said Monday afternoon. “We sold a whole batch of $1 tickets. It is going real well.”
Kristen Leger, assistant manager of Tobacco Superstore, said plenty of the store’s customers told them they would be buying tickets at the store.
“And, when they win, they will come back and get more,” Leger said.
At Doublebee’s Conoco on Highway 65, Stephanie Hicks, said the equipment at the store was down until 10 a.m. However, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the store sold $450 in tickets.
Chris Helton at Pickles Gap Village said the lottery sales had gone well.
“The system is good. I called the 800 hotline and was on hold about 10 to 15 minutes,” he said. “It went better than I expected. It was pretty easy.”
Although some lines were longer in stores, shoppers didn’t seem to find a much longer wait in store.
Katheryn Rappold, who was in line at Murphy Oil off Harkrider, said the line to buy gas and cigarettes was not too bad.
“It is a little bit more slow than normal,” she said. “I guess this brings a few more people out.”
At Bear’s Den on Dave Ward Drive, Chase Blackwell took his time picking out the lottery tickets he wanted as his friends waited. Walking out of the store with his lottery tickets, Blackwell said, “It is great to contribute to Arkansas and help out with the money. Now, I am ready to win.”
For those who do not win on their scratch-off ticket, Baldridge reminds them to go to www.myarkansaslottery.com which describes the Players Club and gives players a second chance to win by registering the ticket number online.