Head of D.C. Lottery resigns for new job in Connecticut (2024)

Frank Suarez, who led the D.C. Lottery through a turbulent period with an underperforming sports-betting contractor, has resigned to take a new job in Connecticut, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Suarez’s resignation as the head of the agency, which is effective July 31, comes a day after the D.C. Council advanced legislation through the city’s fiscal 2025 budget that would drastically revamp the District’s sports-wagering landscape. But Natalie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the office of the chief financial officer, said Suarez’s resignation was tied to a new opportunity to become the president and chief executive of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation. Suarez’s resignation was earlier reported on the social media site X by Washington City Paper’s Alex Koma.

Suarez, who oversaw both traditional lottery and District-operated sports wagering, took the helm in 2021 at a time when the city’s sports-betting system — GambetDC, run by contractor Intralot — was bringing in underwhelming revenue and failing to meet expectations. Whoever replaces Suarez is likely to oversee a major reboot of sports gambling in D.C. at a time when the cash-strapped city is hoping to bring in more revenue. An interim replacement for Suarez will be selected before his departure, Wilson said.

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In January, Suarez revealed that the agency was handing over control through a subcontract to a new and more popular sports-betting operator, FanDuel, to try to salvage the District’s operation. The transition began in April and has already produced significantly more revenue than GambetDC.

But just before the transition, D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (I-At Large), the chairman of the business committee, put forth legislation to entirely reshape sports wagering by moving away from a monopoly model and opening it to more operators citywide. Currently, while FanDuel can operate citywide, other big operators are restricted to a tiny radius around major sports arenas, like BetMGM at Nationals Park — restrictions that McDuffie’s proposal would end.

“The [Office of Lottery and Gaming] waited years to take these types of steps despite what consumers and residents across the District of Columbia have said has been a broken program,” McDuffie said in an interview in March. “I’m working toward a bill because the system and the program that they put in place simply doesn’t work.”

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Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) included McDuffie’s proposal in the budget, which passed Wednesday — a move that not all council members liked. Some wanted to separate it from the budget to create a more robust public record and give the council more time to weigh the proposal, particularly considering past failures with D.C. sports betting. But McDuffie said it was urgent, arguing that the longer FanDuel operated exclusively in the District, the harder it would be for other competitors to move in.

McDuffie accused the Office of Lottery and Gaming of “stonewalling” him as he tried to gather more information about the FanDuel arrangement earlier this year, which he said meant he could not move more quickly.

In a statement provided by Wilson, lottery officials said they could not share the contract between FanDuel and Intralot with McDuffie because it is private and the Office of Lottery and Gaming “does not get involved in contractual agreements between its vendors and their subcontractors.”

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The OLG submitted a request to the council to approve a two-year extension of Intralot’s contract, which expires in July. Officials said that even if McDuffie’s proposal continues moving forward — marking the “likely end of District-operated sports wagering” — OLG will still need to give retailers time to “wind down” the operation as a new system ramps up.

Suarez testified before McDuffie’s committee about his proposal last month. While he did not take a firm position either way, he did raise concerns about the effects of McDuffie’s proposal on small businesses that have betting kiosks for the existing operator — concerns several council members shared Wednesday. The small businesses can generate significant revenue by hosting the kiosks, revenue some feared could be put at risk.

“The bill provides no protection for District-operated sports wagering retail locations and prioritizes large … businesses over other small businesses in the District that elected to offer sports wagering through OLG,” Suarez said, according to a copy of his testimony.

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McDuffie sought to assuage those concerns Wednesday, noting he was working on an amendment to ensure that if Intralot no longer provides kiosks to the small businesses, new operators would be able to provide them. Those and other details are likely to be worked out in the council’s upcoming vote on laws associated with the budget.

“I wish Director Suarez well in his new role. Still, there is essential work that the Office of Lottery and Gaming must complete over the next few weeks,” McDuffie said in a statement. “I look forward to the Chief Financial Officer identifying a new lottery leader who is transparent, responsive, and prepared to lead this critical District agency.”

Head of D.C. Lottery resigns for new job in Connecticut (2024)

FAQs

Head of D.C. Lottery resigns for new job in Connecticut? ›

Frank Suarez, the executive director of the D.C. Lottery, has resigned to become the president and CEO of the Connecticut Lottery

Connecticut Lottery
The Connecticut Lottery Corporation, also called the CT Lottery, is the official lottery in Connecticut. It was created in 1971 by then-Gov. Thomas Meskill, who signed Public Act No. 865. The first tickets were sold on February 15, 1972.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Connecticut_Lottery
Corporation (CLC). Suarez will remain in his current role until the end of July and will begin work in Connecticut on Aug. 1.

Who is the director of the DC Lottery? ›

Frank Suarez, Executive Director

This included working for industry leaders like Kraft Foods, Del Monte Foods, Darden Restaurants, Yum Brands (KFC), and Wachovia Bank. Suarez has received multiple marketing awards, including the Darden Brilliance Award and the Del Monte Foods Marketing Excellence Award.

What is the commission on the DC lottery? ›

5% commission on all online and instant ticket sales. 4% commission on instant ticket prizes paid. 3% commission on online ticket prizes paid. Bonus sales commissions for top-tier winning tickets sold at their location.

Who is head of the lottery? ›

Shergill-Chima is the first Indian American serving as Director of the California Lottery.

Who is the CEO of lottery Corporation? ›

Sue van der Merwe - The Lottery Corporation | LinkedIn.

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