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Audit: S.C. lottery leaders paid more than those in other states

Dec 16, 2005, 9:18 am

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South Carolina LotterySouth Carolina Lottery: Audit: S.C. lottery leaders paid more than those in other states

Top South Carolina lottery officials are being paid more than those in many other states, according to an audit released Thursday.

In its 57-page report, the Legislative Audit Council said the South Carolina Education Lottery is paying its executive director more than at least 16 other states. In the council's survey of 18 state lotteries, Tennessee's executive director garnered the highest salary, at $350,000, and West Virginia's executive came in lowest at almost $97,000.

South Carolina's executive director Ernie Passailaigue makes $196,738 a year, according to the audit. The second highest-paid lottery official in the state earns $166,350 a year, which is more than the executive directors of 14 of the state's surveyed.

There are lotteries in 42 states, as well as in the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Gov. Mark Sanford's spokesman said the salary findings were a concern.

"When we have a lottery director that is third highest-paid among the states this audit reviewed, that raises some serious questions about whether we're getting enough dollars to education," said Sanford's spokesman Joel Sawyer. "It's something the governor has raised a number of times in budget hearings."

South Carolina Education Lottery Commission Chairman John C.B. Smith Jr. said the executive director's compensation package compares very favorably to other lotteries in the country.

"This is really a top-notch lottery," Smith said. "We try to compete in a national arena, and our staff is national class."

The state lottery is prohibited from paying performance-based bonuses, Smith said, and South Carolina's salary structure is "quite a bit low" when compared to some modern lotteries.

The report also said the commission "has not adequately communicated the odds of winning" to lottery players.
Smith said this issue is something "we continually try to work on." He said the commission feels point-of-purchase notifications are more effective than other methods, like radio spots, and said the lottery would use more in-store displays.

Smith also said the audit's concern that nearly $20 million in scratch-off tickets were sold after the contests' top prizes had already been claimed was not a big deal.

"We have a rich lower-tier prize structure, and we find that most players are playing the scratch off games for the lower-tier prizes," he said.

The report also recommended the lottery rely more on in-house staff to purchase these point-of-purchase displays, rather than using its advertising contractor.

In his written response, Smith agreed with this recommendation and said the commission would continue to "closely monitor" its contract with Chernoff Newman to ensure efficiency.

Passailaigue deferred all comment to Smith Thursday.

Overall, Smith said he was happy with the report.

"We try to take these recommendations to heart and try to work to make our lottery better," he said. "We want to go from good to best."

The report came as SCEL announced that more than $1 billion of net lottery proceeds had been deposited into an account used to fund educational initiatives. According to a release, net proceeds of $1.154 billion have been appropriated to higher education, K-12 programs and other initiatives through the end of fiscal year 2006.


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5 comments. Last comment 15 years ago by antiwarlover.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #24764
October 26, 2005
11 Posts
Posted: December 16, 2005, 7:39 pm - IP Logged

what did nj come in?

    sirbrad's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
    United States
    Member #22982
    October 6, 2005
    2229 Posts
    Posted: December 17, 2005, 10:39 am - IP Logged

    As I said in another thread, those greedy mothers. They are taking advantage of all the players, and the money that the lottery generates. Playing for low tier prizes my a$$. Just like they are working for peanuts right? Yeeeeah.

      JAP69's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
      South Carolina
      United States
      Member #6
      November 4, 2001
      8872 Posts
      Posted: December 17, 2005, 3:07 pm - IP Logged

      They get paid almost 200 grand a year and can not see to it that the website and lottery terminals are updated in a timely manner.
      At least 20 minutes after the draw.

      Numbers are where you find them.

      [0*1*2*3*4] [5*6*7*8*9]



        United States
        Member #27624
        December 4, 2005
        88 Posts
        Posted: December 20, 2005, 9:06 pm - IP Logged

        Hey take it easy guys "This is a top notch lottery," said Smith.

        Let the SC players win big more often and I think they'll overlook the

        fat salaries. Sounds good, huh?

          New Member
          silver spring,md
          United States
          Member #14383
          April 25, 2005
          5 Posts
          Posted: December 26, 2005, 10:20 pm - IP Logged

          once you move on up with the fat paychecks--you do not care about the little people. you like the way that the devil fills the mind with greed manipulation techniques.