Lottery friction | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lottery friction

Posted By on Sat, Apr 25, 2009 at 6:43 AM

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, Father of the Arkansas Lottery, responded to a question yesterday by saying the person hired to lead the lottery should have lottery experience.

He didn't get personal. But  the question arises from persistent talk that powerful legislators like the idea of hiring former legislator and current interim UCA President Tom Courtway as lottery leader. Other names of Arkansans with ties to legislators are also being mentioned for other lottery jobs and jockeying is underway in the ad industry (one player has financial ties to blood relatives of the likely lottery commission chairman) for the lottery's lucrative marketing work.

Demand relevant experience when there are friends and family of legislators and lottery commissioners available for work? Now you see why Halter is so unpopular at the legislature.

A fellow in a position to have some insight on legislative thinking (is that an oxymoron?) provides some.

There were two schools of thought on who should head up a lottery.
1)      Hire a lottery insider, an industry professional as CEO.  A lottery wonk type. Then bring in someone familiar with AR landscape as #2.

2)      Hire someone with AR experience and a good reputation as CEO.  Then hire a lottery wonk as COO or #2 position to orchestrate the mechanics of the lottery launch/operations.
South Carolina hired a former senator to run their lottery.  Georgia took a different path and hired a lottery guru to head up their launch.  Both of those models had significant influence on the Arkansas legislation.

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