LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Lottery Commission decided Monday to renew its request for police powers for the state lottery program.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Lottery Commission decided Monday to renew its request for police powers for the state lottery program.

The commission voted to authorize Lottery Director Bishop Woosley to inform the Legislature’s lottery oversight committee of the program’s interest in obtaining certification for lottery personnel as law enforcement officers.

Lawmakers rejected the lottery program’s initial request for police powers in 2010.

Woosley said Monday no specific proposal had been drafted, but he wanted the panel’s OK to talk about the idea to lawmakers in advance of next year’s legislative session.

“I think it would probably be similar to what our other state agencies (such as the Forestry Commission and the Game and Fish Commission) have, which are to issue warrants or subpoenas and do investigations and obtain records and things of that nature, which may include arrests,” he said.

Investigations would be conducted by the lottery’s four-person security staff, and results of investigations would be turned over to prosecutors, Woosley said. He said it would not be necessary to hire additional personnel.

Giving the lottery police powers would be beneficial, Woosley said, because local police departments are often understaffed and not fully aware of how the lottery operates.

Two years ago, the Legislative Oversight Committee on the Lottery initially endorsed the commission’s request for police powers but rescinded its recommendation just days later.

Woosley also asked the commissioners Monday if they were interested in pursuing a change in the lottery law to allow people to buy lottery tickets with debit cards, as some other states do.

Bruce Engstrom of North Little Rock said he was inclined to oppose the idea. Mike Malone of Fayetteville said he was open to exploring it.

Chairman Dianne Lamberth of Batesville said it seemed clear that the issue of police powers was a higher priority for the panel.

In other business, the board approved a job description to be used in advertising for a new internal auditor. Michael Hyde resigned from that post on May 11 after clashing with a majority of the nine commissioners over his assessment of the lottery’s contract with its vendor for instant-win games, Scientific Games of Alpharetta, Ga.

Hyde said in an audit report that former Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue gave Scientific Games terms that were more favorable than the ones the company initially proposed, and that those terms would cause the lottery to make $5.7 million less for college scholarships over the life of the seven-year contract than it could have made.

The commission chose not to challenge the validity of the contract; instead, it voted 7-2 on April 11 to reaffirm the agreement. Hyde resigned a month later.

On Monday, the commission approved a proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The budget projects $98 million in net profits for scholarships.

Woosley said the lottery’s net profits for the current fiscal year, as of April 30, totaled $82 million, up slightly from $81.6 million at the same time time a year earlier.

Sales of tickets for draw games in April were 14.8 percent below budget projections, Woosley said. He attributed the slump to relatively low jackpots and said he hoped that trend would change.

The commission also voted to implement a program to allow potential lottery vendors to apply for certification as minority-owned businesses.

The panel voted to name Ben Pickard of Searcy to succeed Lamberth as chairman. Lamberth has three years remaining in her term on the commission, but her term as chairman has expired.

“It’s been a fantastic, humbling experience. I’ve learned so much, and it’s been wonderful,” Lamberth told reporters after the meeting.

She acknowledged that the “we’ve had our ups and we’ve had our downs” but said that throughout them “we all have looked at our only goal, and that is to make scholarship money.”