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Former tribal lobbyist named as new California Lottery director

Jun 11, 2019, 8:40 am

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California LotteryCalifornia Lottery: Former tribal lobbyist named as new California Lottery directorRating:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Alva Vernon Johnson to take over the the state's lottery Monday, after former director Hugo Lopez stepped down Friday amid investigations.

Johnson, a former tribal lobbyist, takes over a department that has been been under scrutiny from the Department of Justice and the State Controller's Office since August, when anonymous employees sent a letter to former Gov. Jerry Brown alleging misconduct among senior executives at sales conferences.

Johnson lobbied for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians from 2016 to 2018, and for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians from 2005 to 2015, according to a Governor's Office news release. He was a legislative liaison to the Lottery in 2001, according to the release.

He has a master's degree in public policy from UC Berkeley. The position requires Senate confirmation and comes with a $180,000 salary, according to the release.

Lopez, who held the job starting in 2015, oversaw a period of growth at the Lottery, with annual revenues topping $7 billion, he noted in a resignation letter.

Last summer's anonymous letter focused on senior lottery staff misbehaving at a Southern California piano bar after a sales conference in 2016. The letter included photographs that had been posted online of managers carousing at the bar.

A State Controller's Office audit later determined department officials inappropriately spent about $300,000 over four years on travel, food and accommodations for sales conferences.

Sacramento Bee

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27 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by Stack47.
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Zimbabwe
Member #21
December 7, 2001
4530 Posts
Offline

Good Luck.

Hope all goes well.

.

    reddog's avatar - rickyavatar4
    Durham, North Carolina
    United States
    Member #1616
    June 5, 2003
    2869 Posts
    Offline

    I don't know how that's going to work out when you have a former lobbyist with his hands in the cookie jar. Wish Pelosi country good luck.

    Taking it one drawing at a time.

      music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
      USN United States Navy
      Fresno, California
      United States
      Member #157851
      August 2, 2014
      3959 Posts
      Offline

      Congratulations to Alva Vernon Johnson. May you have smooth sailing and wind at your back.

      US Flag

       "We are all in this together!" 

        lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

        United States
        Member #118605
        November 4, 2011
        1429 Posts
        Offline

        Way to go Newsom, of all the candidates available he picks a lobbyist, oh great.  Degree from Bezerkley and a salary of $180,000 this screams liberal.

          Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
          100
          Zeta Reticuli Star System
          United States
          Member #30469
          January 17, 2006
          11498 Posts
          Offline

          Seems to be a trend, lottery directors with no lottery experience. 

          Bang Head

          Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

          Lep

          There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

            maximumfun's avatar - Lottery-030.jpg

            United States
            Member #124612
            March 16, 2012
            3713 Posts
            Offline

            Seems to be a trend, lottery directors with no lottery experience. 

            Bang Head

            I bet he claimed he had alot, in that he played PB/MM when the j/p's were over 500M... Green laugh

              cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

              United States
              Member #197033
              March 28, 2019
              541 Posts
              Offline

              Could be worse. I worry more about conflict of interest than incompetence. One of the reasons CA pays pari-mutuel prizes rather than fixed prizes is that the tribes argued that fixed prizes constitute a house-banked game in the same spirit as a casino. The tribes didn't want the state to offer any lottery that would compete with their gaming, so the state compromised by making the prizes pari-mutuel, where players essentially play against each other. It averages out the same for players, but there's a lot of unpredictability that isn't so great for players.  Looking at a game like Daily 3, the straight prize is sometimes as low as $300 and sometimes as high as $700. If you're a CA lottery player, you can thank the tribes for that.

              ... Sooper dooper top seekrit winning numbers: 5 16 17 24 33 52 ...

                Avatar
                Kentucky
                United States
                Member #32651
                February 14, 2006
                8965 Posts
                Offline

                Could be worse. I worry more about conflict of interest than incompetence. One of the reasons CA pays pari-mutuel prizes rather than fixed prizes is that the tribes argued that fixed prizes constitute a house-banked game in the same spirit as a casino. The tribes didn't want the state to offer any lottery that would compete with their gaming, so the state compromised by making the prizes pari-mutuel, where players essentially play against each other. It averages out the same for players, but there's a lot of unpredictability that isn't so great for players.  Looking at a game like Daily 3, the straight prize is sometimes as low as $300 and sometimes as high as $700. If you're a CA lottery player, you can thank the tribes for that.

                Does the New Jersey Lottery pay their pick-3 and pick-4 prizes by pari-mutual for the same reasons?

                  cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

                  United States
                  Member #197033
                  March 28, 2019
                  541 Posts
                  Offline

                  Does the New Jersey Lottery pay their pick-3 and pick-4 prizes by pari-mutual for the same reasons?

                  Other states that pay pari-mutuel lottery prizes have their own reasons. California's reason was keeping the tribes happy.

                  Their lobbyists are good at preventing the state from making more money off gambling. Recent case in point: While other state are making moves to cash in on sports betting following the Supreme Court decision, California's sports betting legislation has been tabled because of -- you guessed it -- the tribes. Is it a shrewd move on Newsom's end to hire a former tribal lobbyist to head the lottery? We'll just have to wait and see.

                  ... Sooper dooper top seekrit winning numbers: 5 16 17 24 33 52 ...

                    Avatar
                    Maryland
                    United States
                    Member #162429
                    January 2, 2015
                    2257 Posts
                    Offline

                    This should be interesting.  The person they picked, from what they say, doesn't seem to have any experience 'running' a department/agency/company of this size.  I am kinda hoping they have experience that is not listed.  Anyone who has been in management (at almost any level) for a large company knows there are a ton of things that someone with no experience will get tripped up on.  I get the feeling this person will not be in this position for long. 

                      Avatar
                      Chasing $ Millions.
                      White Shores- California
                      United States
                      Member #136473
                      December 12, 2012
                      6313 Posts
                      Offline

                      Everything nowadays is turned into a political scenario. If the Gov had appointed a kid straight out of University, Newsom would have been taken to task. Let’s see what this guy does, if anything. He will be picking up a hefty paycheck, and the confetti has just fallen, however if he turns out to be trash, he will be gone soon enough. I can think of politicians that sit in Congress & the Senate that pick up hefty paychecks as well & do squat for years. At least this is one guy.

                       * Voice of Reason *   

                       

                      People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                        Avatar
                        Kentucky
                        United States
                        Member #32651
                        February 14, 2006
                        8965 Posts
                        Offline

                        Other states that pay pari-mutuel lottery prizes have their own reasons. California's reason was keeping the tribes happy.

                        Their lobbyists are good at preventing the state from making more money off gambling. Recent case in point: While other state are making moves to cash in on sports betting following the Supreme Court decision, California's sports betting legislation has been tabled because of -- you guessed it -- the tribes. Is it a shrewd move on Newsom's end to hire a former tribal lobbyist to head the lottery? We'll just have to wait and see.

                        Maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places, but never found the reason New Jersey is pari-mutual. I bought a $1 box and a $1 straight twice and the clerk gave me four 50 cent tickets and when I gave them a funny look, they said it was because of the payoff. Looking at some recent results, the 50 cent payoff was between $160 and $420.

                        I suppose every state lottery still have people that are anti-lottery for a number of reasons.

                        Oh and for what's it's worth, Johnson does have some lottery experience. "He was a legislative liaison to the Lottery in 2001,"

                          lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

                          United States
                          Member #118605
                          November 4, 2011
                          1429 Posts
                          Offline

                          Could be worse. I worry more about conflict of interest than incompetence. One of the reasons CA pays pari-mutuel prizes rather than fixed prizes is that the tribes argued that fixed prizes constitute a house-banked game in the same spirit as a casino. The tribes didn't want the state to offer any lottery that would compete with their gaming, so the state compromised by making the prizes pari-mutuel, where players essentially play against each other. It averages out the same for players, but there's a lot of unpredictability that isn't so great for players.  Looking at a game like Daily 3, the straight prize is sometimes as low as $300 and sometimes as high as $700. If you're a CA lottery player, you can thank the tribes for that.

                          Learned something new, I always wondered what the reason was for the pari mutuel payoff.  Thanks for that info.

                            Avatar
                            Northern Beaches
                            Australia
                            Member #187037
                            January 9, 2018
                            125 Posts
                            Offline

                            California should follow New York's example and introduce a subscription service. It would raise additional revenue for the state. It would also be very convenient for players, tapping into people who don't play in stores. It is time that the high-tech state's lottery''s came into the 21st century.