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Wyoming Lottery hires Oregon Lottery official as CEO

Sep 24, 2013, 10:55 am

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Wyoming Lottery

Start of games might be delayed up to 1 year

The Wyoming Lottery Corporation on Monday announced its selection of an Oregon man to serve as its first chief executive officer.

Jon Clontz, 49, will start Oct. 7 as CEO at a salary of $165,000 a year, said Brian Scott Gamroth, chairman of the Wyoming Lottery Corporation board.

Clontz served as deputy director with the Oregon Lottery for the past two years.

"His leadership qualities, strong communication skills, and a proven track record of success with the Oregon Lottery give us great confidence in his abilities to get things done for Wyoming," Gamroth said.

The Wyoming Legislature approved the creation of a state lottery early this year, and Gov. Matt Mead appointed the nine-member lottery board over the summer. Officials hope to have the lottery up and running next year.

The board says Clontz is an Army veteran and has a master's degree in public administration from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. His wife Renee and son Max will relocate to Cheyenne later this year.

Clontz presented plans on Monday in Casper for implementing the lottery, which could be in place by January 2015. The lottery board will hear from potential vendors during Tuesday's meeting.

The board selected Clontz from among dozens of applicants, Gamroth said. He said the position was publicized in national lottery publications.

The lottery is expected to gross about $25 million in Wyoming, netting about $6 million a year after expenses and prizes. The first $6 million of proceeds will go to local governments. Anything above goes to a school fund.

Getting a statewide lottery in Wyoming has taken many years. Before the measure ultimately passed the Legislature this year, lottery bills had been shot down since the 1980s. Before this year, lottery proposals had never cleared the House, where revenue-generating bills originate.

Opponents have said that a statewide lottery is a regressive tax on poor residents who play the game. Proponents, though, have emphasized that Wyoming has lost millions of dollars a year from residents who play the lottery in other states.

Board reviews 1 year delay for lotto start

Jon Clontz on Monday presented the Wyoming Lottery Board with a timeline that pushes the state lottery start date from early spring 2014 to 2015.

"My goal is to do this as quickly as we can, and as efficiently as we can," Clontz said Monday.

The estimated timeline involves hiring a seven-person administrative staff and seeking a request for vendor proposals by December. Clontz said the board would likely review lottery plans and vendor presentations in January, then select a vendor in February.

After legal review, the contract would be signed in April. Software and game system plans, gaming rules and policies would be created in the following months. The lottery system would go live in October 2015 for "phase one" and all other contracts and phases are expected to be complete by January 2015.

Clontz said the timeline hinges on the contract with a vendor but could be shortened if the board is willing to rush the contract review or gaming system tests.

"It is a rough draft format, for certain," he said. "I think people need to expect it to change."

Brian Scott Gamroth, chairman of the Wyoming Lottery Board, said the delayed timeline came as a surprise. But he understood the board has only one chance to establish the lottery. He said the goal is to do it as fast as possible without unnecessary risk.

"We need to do this correctly," he said. "We need to do this right."

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