She's only been Tennessee's lottery chief for two days, but Rebecca Paul is already traveling the state gathering support for Tennessee's lottery. Wednesday she was in Memphis to talk with minority business owners.
Already, Rebecca Paul is reaching out to minority business owners, touting her record in Georgia on minority hires to her staff. Paul said, "The legislature said to me, we want to make sure you have 30-percent of your staff African American. I really didn't do that. I had 54-percent of my staff." So will minorities make up a large percentage of her staff in Tennessee? "Let's see who applies. We haven't hired one person yet. Right now it's 100-percent me. It's a 100-percent female right now"
Business owners seemed impressed with the Lottery's CEO. "Ms. Paul is so very impressive, she's the goods." Roby Williams is the President of Black Business Association of Memphis. He says the Tennessee Lottery Corporation made the right move by encouraging minority participation early in the process. Roby Williams, Black Business Association said, "We're doing this the right way, we're getting involved on the front end so that we won't have discrepancies on the back end."
"If you own a business and apply we want you." And state lawmakers say they want to make sure the playing field is level. Sen. Roscoe Dixon, (D) District 33 said, "Some of my best friends are white, but we want to make sure that all people, all people are involved." Rebecca Paul agrees. "Minority participation is something that's very important to the Tennessee lottery corporation," making sure everyone has a chance at building the lottery that promises millions. Rebecca Paul's advise on getting to the promised land on the lottery is to buy a convenience store on the Arkansas boarder. State lawmakers have set a goal that the lottery should award 15-percent of its contracts to minorities.
Hiring Rebecca Paul will cost a pretty penny. She will continue to be the highest paid lottery C-E-O in the country, with a base salary of 350-thousand dollars a year. If Paul meets three critical deadlines, she'll get a hefty bonus of 402-thousand-500 dollars. That makes her potential salary more than 752-thousand dollars. Lottery supporters say the cost is worth it.
Sen. Steve Cohen, (D) Memphis said, "She is the best. We should be celebrating. We beat 49-states. We stole Georgia's peach and the peaches in Tennessee. And you'll see peaches and cream." Rebecca Paul's base salary in nearly three-times that of the C-E-O's of larger state lotteries. Paul plans to start work no later than October first.
Here's a look at the lottery deadlines. In order for Paul to get the full bonus, the lottery must be up and running by February 17th with scratch-off tickets. The online version of the state's lottery, that allows players to select numbers at a computer terminal, must be running 60 days later. And the lottery must reach 122-million-dollars in net revenues in the first year.
Rebecca Paul says the state could be a part of a giant jackpot lottery by early July. Which big games could be coming to the State of Tennessee?
Two names have already emerged, Powerball and Mega Millions. Powerball is played in 24 states, the District of Columbia and the U-S Virgin Islands. The game is managed by Multi-State Lottery Association. Jackpots start at 10-million dollars. The highest payout for the game was 314-point-9 million dollars. Mega Millions is played in 10 states. It started out as the Big Game in 1996 and was renamed Mega Millions in 2002. Jackpots start at 10-million dollars. The highest payout for the game was 363-million dollars. The highest jackpot payout ever. Both games are played by selecting five numbers and then a powerball or mega ball number. You win the jackpot if you match all six numbers.
It's important to note, Rebecca Paul helped found the Big Game in 1996. Paul says she will make a recommendation on which multistate game the state should apply for membership. Paul says her past association with the Big Game and Mega Millions will not interfere in her decision.