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Tenn. lottery chief offers advice to fledgling Wyoming Lottery

Wyoming LotteryWyoming Lottery: Tenn. lottery chief offers advice to fledgling Wyoming Lottery
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The Wyoming Lottery Board received some much-needed advice — and a stern warning — from someone who has helped shepherd other states through the the complicated process of launching state-sponsored games of chance.

Rebecca Hargrove is the CEO of the Tennessee Lottery and is known as a guru on how to get lottery startups off the ground and running. Board Chairman Brian Scott asked her to pay a visit to help outline a game plan for the board at its second-ever meeting on Tuesday.

The energetic executive has a Southern lilt, pizzazz and evident knowledge that the newly appointed board needs at the nascent stages of the Wyoming Lottery. On her Casper visit she dropped names, passed out phone numbers, clarified legislative matters, and warned the nine-member board of the pitfalls that arise when starting a lottery. She left the board meeting with a laundry list of things she promised to help the board deal with while it's getting its feet wet.

Her biggest piece of advice to the board was the scariest.

"This is a zero-mistake business," she said.

The board has a target of getting the Wyoming Lottery Corporation off the ground by the beginning of 2014, but no dates are set in stone. It has an overwhelming amount of work in front of it, Hargrove said.

In the coming months, there will be thousands of contracts and a litany of business decisions that need to be carried out by someone with experience in the industry, she said. No member of the board has any connection to gaming or lottery, so the most important thing the board can do is hire an industry-savvy CEO as soon as possible, she said.

The board will begin to advertise and may hire a search firm to help get the lottery corporation a pool of candidates. It chose Cheyenne over Casper to use as its home office.

"It's an attractive place to CEOs," said Barry Simms, a former Taco John's CEO and vice chairman of the board.

At its first meeting the board questioned whether it should spend the money on hiring a search firm. Potential candidates have already been inquiring with the governor's office and power players in the lottery industry.

There's value in a search firm, Hargrove said.

Search firms hired by Tennessee and Georgia lured Hargrove from lottery CEO positions she was then holding when they were in the early stages of developing their lotteries.

"Their philosophy was that you're probably not going to want to hire someone who is actively looking for a job," she said.

The board will start tapping lottery trade organizations and lottery CEOs in states across the country to ask for help in finding a candidate, Scott said.

Whether the board will use a search firm is still not known, Scott said.

The board has heard numerous figures on an approximate starting salary for CEOs with experience in launching lottery startups. The decision on what to pay a CEO of a startup is different from asking, "What do CEOs make in the industry," Hargrove said.

There were murmurs of a number between $100,000 and $175,000, but Hargrove said that was too low if the board wants to attract a candidate who is currently working somewhere else.

"Getting someone to pick up and leave everything and come here can cost between $225,000 and $700,000," she said.

Hargrove's next piece of advice was to secure capital.

Board members were combing Wyoming to search for startup funds because the state Legislature didn't allocate any general fund monies to start the Wyoming Lottery Corporation.

There were worries that the Wyoming lottery — without collateral and a guarantor to take on liability in the unlikely case of a default — would have trouble acquiring a loan. But the fears have faded since the board began meeting. Lenders have contacted Scott and Simms to show interest in granting it a loan.

The board should have its startup capital within a month's time and plans to use a Wyoming bank, Scott said.

The board is pushing to borrow $1 million for six months, but it all depends on what the banks want, Scott said.

Hargrove wasn't the only guest the board welcomed to Wyoming. The nation's three largest gaming vendors — distributors of the terminals that sell tickets at retail stores — gave the board sales pitches. The winning company is likely to furnish more than 300 retailers in the state.

Representatives from Scientific Games, Intralot and GTECH are all vying for a contract with the Wyoming Lottery in a competitive bidding process. The state is a prize for all of the companies because Wyoming is the 44th state to adopt a lottery and is considered one of the last that will do so.

GTECH runs the Colorado and Nebraska lotteries, and Intralot runs the Montana and Idaho lotteries. Scientific Games runs North Dakota's.

The winning company will provide research, gaming equipment, communications and labor to the lottery corporation.

Representatives estimated that the fee for using a vendor would range between 5 and 12 percent of the revenue the lottery earns each year.

Hargrove advised the board to not bite on the lowest bid.

"Wyoming needs to choose the vendor that gives it the best value — not the best price," she said.

Star-Tribune

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16 comments. Last comment 9 months ago by jamella724.
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pcurtis's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
fayetteville tn
United States
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January 3, 2009
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Posted: July 10, 2013, 11:12 am - IP Logged

Wyoming lottery is doomed from the get go taking advice from the dragon lady. Scared

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
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    Posted: July 10, 2013, 12:51 pm - IP Logged

    Wyoming lottery is doomed from the get go taking advice from the dragon lady. Scared

    Well at least Wyoming won't be able to screw up most of the drawings when they start off (like Tennessee's computerized drawings) because Wyoming has only authorized mutli-state games to start with.  Of the multi-state games, only Hot Lotto has the dreaded computerized drawings.

    NOTE TO WYOMING LOTTERY BOARD MEMBERS:  Do not listen to anyone who says computerized drawings are a great way to "save money" and "contribute more to education".  Computerized drawings only serve to piss off your loyal players.

     

    Check the State Lottery Report Card
    What grade did your lottery earn?

     

    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

      Avatar
      Keokuk,Iowa
      United States
      Member #116508
      September 12, 2011
      302 Posts
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      Posted: July 10, 2013, 1:24 pm - IP Logged

      Well at least Wyoming won't be able to screw up most of the drawings when they start off (like Tennessee's computerized drawings) because Wyoming has only authorized mutli-state games to start with.  Of the multi-state games, only Hot Lotto has the dreaded computerized drawings.

      NOTE TO WYOMING LOTTERY BOARD MEMBERS:  Do not listen to anyone who says computerized drawings are a great way to "save money" and "contribute more to education".  Computerized drawings only serve to piss off your loyal players.

      I Agree!

        Lotto Geek's avatar - thelottogeekball
        New Member

        United States
        Member #141757
        April 22, 2013
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        Posted: July 10, 2013, 2:28 pm - IP Logged

        Well at least Wyoming won't be able to screw up most of the drawings when they start off (like Tennessee's computerized drawings) because Wyoming has only authorized mutli-state games to start with.  Of the multi-state games, only Hot Lotto has the dreaded computerized drawings.

        NOTE TO WYOMING LOTTERY BOARD MEMBERS:  Do not listen to anyone who says computerized drawings are a great way to "save money" and "contribute more to education".  Computerized drawings only serve to piss off your loyal players.

        Wild Card and 2by2 are computerized, too.

        You know where to find me.

          RedStang's avatar - mustangstu zps4c591ef5.jpg
          Dutchess , NY
          United States
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          January 21, 2012
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          Posted: July 10, 2013, 10:55 pm - IP Logged

          Starting a lotto in WY won't be a easy task with a population of just over 500k. They should start when the pb/mm jackpots are high enough to get players interested.

            Avatar
            Kentucky
            United States
            Member #32652
            February 14, 2006
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            Posted: July 11, 2013, 12:52 am - IP Logged

            Wyoming lottery is doomed from the get go taking advice from the dragon lady. Scared

            There were murmurs of a number between $100,000 and $175,000, but Hargrove said that was too low if the board wants to attract a candidate who is currently working somewhere else. "Getting someone to pick up and leave everything and come here can cost between $225,000 and $700,000," she said.

            It looks like Hargrove is applying for the job and the TN lottery players are hoping she gets it.

              noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
              Bay Area/ California
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              Posted: July 11, 2013, 1:13 am - IP Logged

              If you are correct Stack about Rebecca throwing her hat into the ring for the job, she made it quite clear that her asking price would be between $225,000-$700,000- the higher number for becca of course.

              Her stern warning about " this is a no mistakes business" should tell those board members that its going to be war if they renege on her paycheck should they start losing money.

              Those murmurers were put in their place once and for all.You Go Girl.

                Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
                Los Angeles, California
                United States
                Member #103816
                January 5, 2011
                1460 Posts
                Online
                Posted: July 11, 2013, 10:11 am - IP Logged

                There were murmurs of a number between $100,000 and $175,000, but Hargrove said that was too low if the board wants to attract a candidate who is currently working somewhere else. "Getting someone to pick up and leave everything and come here can cost between $225,000 and $700,000," she said.

                It looks like Hargrove is applying for the job and the TN lottery players are hoping she gets it.

                OMG...$700K salary? What a crock-o-____. Just another example of shamefully bloated salaries.

                This reminds me of another scandal where a small city manager paid himself more than $700K per year, more than twice as much as his counterpart for all of L.A. and more than the POTUS!

                This is not rocket science. The lottery is basically a turn-key solution delivered and administered by the vendor of choice such as GTECH. They run everything. In Wyoming's case, they aren't even doing local games or Scratch cards, just multi-state games run by MUSL, so it's even easier.

                The director/CEO and commission's biggest decision is the logo design and game color scheme.(or game choices as in other states) Kinda like a celebrity perfume, they really don't actually do that much for the product development and distribution.

                Don't fall for the inflated sales projections and salaries required for your basic management and budgeting job.

                  Avatar
                  Kentucky
                  United States
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                  Posted: July 11, 2013, 10:49 am - IP Logged

                  If you are correct Stack about Rebecca throwing her hat into the ring for the job, she made it quite clear that her asking price would be between $225,000-$700,000- the higher number for becca of course.

                  Her stern warning about " this is a no mistakes business" should tell those board members that its going to be war if they renege on her paycheck should they start losing money.

                  Those murmurers were put in their place once and for all.You Go Girl.

                  It's not the same as the creative bonus incentives given in sports to players and coaches, but there are some state lotteries using a similar system. Tennessee has legislated what percentage of lottery profits must go to their scholarship program and it doesn't leave much room for bonuses and why I believe Hargrove might be negating with Wyoming right now.

                    pcurtis's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                    fayetteville tn
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                    Posted: July 11, 2013, 11:06 am - IP Logged

                    It would be nice if she left Tennessee.

                      Avatar
                      Kentucky
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                      Posted: July 11, 2013, 11:12 am - IP Logged

                      OMG...$700K salary? What a crock-o-____. Just another example of shamefully bloated salaries.

                      This reminds me of another scandal where a small city manager paid himself more than $700K per year, more than twice as much as his counterpart for all of L.A. and more than the POTUS!

                      This is not rocket science. The lottery is basically a turn-key solution delivered and administered by the vendor of choice such as GTECH. They run everything. In Wyoming's case, they aren't even doing local games or Scratch cards, just multi-state games run by MUSL, so it's even easier.

                      The director/CEO and commission's biggest decision is the logo design and game color scheme.(or game choices as in other states) Kinda like a celebrity perfume, they really don't actually do that much for the product development and distribution.

                      Don't fall for the inflated sales projections and salaries required for your basic management and budgeting job.

                      Someone like Hargrove could be a good fit for Wyoming because she does work for state with a smaller player base. Based on many of the comments by TN lottery players on LP, the lottery she is running is not as player friendly as most CEOs. Kentucky proved they could cut a large portion of the cost of live ball drawings by streaming them live via the Internet. Hargrove chose computer drawings and we all know the mess that created.

                      "Board members were combing Wyoming to search for startup funds because the state Legislature didn't allocate any general fund monies to start the Wyoming Lottery Corporation."

                      If they are planning on starting the beginning of 2014, they need to find a vendor and because their plans only include multi-state games and no scratch-offs, I don't see how they can justify paying a CEO $700,000 a year to basically hire a vendor.


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                        September 7, 2011
                        20244 Posts
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                        Posted: July 11, 2013, 11:17 am - IP Logged

                        OMG...$700K salary? What a crock-o-____. Just another example of shamefully bloated salaries.

                        This reminds me of another scandal where a small city manager paid himself more than $700K per year, more than twice as much as his counterpart for all of L.A. and more than the POTUS!

                        This is not rocket science. The lottery is basically a turn-key solution delivered and administered by the vendor of choice such as GTECH. They run everything. In Wyoming's case, they aren't even doing local games or Scratch cards, just multi-state games run by MUSL, so it's even easier.

                        The director/CEO and commission's biggest decision is the logo design and game color scheme.(or game choices as in other states) Kinda like a celebrity perfume, they really don't actually do that much for the product development and distribution.

                        Don't fall for the inflated sales projections and salaries required for your basic management and budgeting job.

                        As socialism starts to take firm root in US we will see more and more gov workers reaching celeb staus.

                        I cant go to my MSN home page anymore without seeing the word "celeb" at least 3-4 times. 

                        This is what the people voted for, so this is our new reailty in the USSA.

                          rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                          -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
                          Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                          United States
                          Member #73904
                          April 28, 2009
                          14740 Posts
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                          Posted: July 11, 2013, 3:59 pm - IP Logged

                          The Dragon Lady rules with an iron fist.

                          And the only thing that matters is the bottom line.

                          She knows the state has a lot of morons who will stand at the counter and buy scratcher after scratcher after scratcher til their money's all gone and she caters to 'em with new, shiny cards with different names and different promises of untold riches. And she knows that's who butters her biscuits.

                          And she knows the Daily Game players will keep playing whether she conducts legitimate ball drawings or the computer-driven fake drawings she does now. Even if her computer's fake drawings have already been caught ruling out certain number combinations. 

                          She knows that hordes of Tennessee players flock across state lines to purchase Pick5 tickets elsewhere because she doesn't offer that popular game and it didn't prosper when she did have it because players prefer real ball drawings. But she doesn't really care because the bottom line is kept healthy by the scratcher players and daily game players.

                          And more money is saved by not investigating complaints of criminal clerks stealing people's winnings. If you report one, they don't even want to know where it happened, they just tell you to be careful out there.

                          I think the Dragon Lady would love Wyoming.

                          I'd even help load all the computers on the U-Haul.

                            TnTicketlosers's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg

                            United States
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                            February 19, 2009
                            932 Posts
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                            Posted: July 11, 2013, 4:39 pm - IP Logged

                            And I will take all my losing tickets that I have in sealed bags and shred them all so we can pack them with out damage.About time we showed up HUH Ridge. We must be kin folk.Dump Hillbillies.NOT.