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Iowa Lottery CEO announces retirement

Apr 20, 2018, 8:35 am

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Iowa Lottery

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich announced Thursday that he intends to retire in late 2018 or early 2019. Rich has led the Iowa Lottery since February 2009 and is just the second person to serve as its CEO since the lottery's start in 1985.

Rich, 65, released this statement regarding his retirement: 

"Over the past years, I've had the privilege of serving three Iowa governors while achieving some significant milestones at the lottery, helping with projects to address some of the state's biggest challenges, and driving meaningful increases in the vital state proceeds generated by the lottery. I've done everything I'd hoped to accomplish at the Iowa Lottery. With that success, it's time to move on.

Besides spending more time with family and friends, there are professional opportunities that excite me as I head into this management transition: to help one more organization grow success as a member of its Board of Directors or management staff; or to produce one more national TV show while continuing to present keynote speeches at local and international conferences.

I've thoroughly enjoyed providing Iowans with entertainment as CEO of the Iowa Lottery. It has been our pleasure to help design successful games with the highest degree of integrity and accountability. I've been lucky enough to lead the most prominent national lottery organizations, and my signature has appeared on hundreds of millions of lottery tickets — and checks for Iowa's biggest lottery prizes. I'm announcing my retirement now so that transition plans can be made at the lottery."

The Iowa Lottery has achieved a number of milestones under Rich's leadership:

  • Annual Lottery sales have increased $100 million, from the $240 million range to over $350 million range today.
  • Annual lottery proceeds to state causes have increased from the $60 million range in 2009 to the $80 million range today, driven in large part by repeated record sales of instant-scratch tickets.
  • The Iowa Lottery received a clean audit from the state Auditor's Office each year that Rich was CEO.   
  • Fiscal year 2016 went into the books as the lottery's best year to date, with record sales, proceeds to state causes, prizes to players and retailer commissions. The lottery generated a record $88 million in proceeds that year. Annual sales were a record $366.9 million.

During his years heading the Iowa Lottery, Rich also was selected by his peers to lead the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries as its president for 2014-2015.

But perhaps what will be remembered most from Rich's time as lottery CEO is the long-running lottery jackpot investigation that uncovered fraud against U.S. lotteries and resulted in guilty pleas from three men who admitted they illegally claimed prizes by rigging lottery drawings in five states.

"This case will remain an important reminder to organizations everywhere to keep monitoring and making improvements to stay ahead of those who would try to beat the system," Rich said. "I'm absolutely proud of the unwavering focus our lottery kept on security and integrity to ensure that our games are fair."

The Iowa Lottery was named the 2018 winner for an International Gaming-Compliance Award for its work in the case, which spanned seven years.

Prior to Rich becoming the lottery's CEO in 2009, Dr. Ed Stanek led the organization from its start in 1985 until his retirement in October 2007.

In addition to his career at the lottery, Rich was CEO of Iowa's Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines; President and CEO of Rich Heritage Inc., a national marketing and television production company based in Des Moines; and Vice President of Marketing for Heritage Communications Inc. in Des Moines.

Rich has won numerous entrepreneurial awards in television production and marketing, has a bachelor's degree from Iowa State University and is an ISU Foundation Governor Emeritus.

Rich's successor as the director of the Iowa Lottery must be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Iowa Senate.

Note from the Lottery Post staff

Terry Rich is a special kind of leader — a special kind of person — that is immediately apparent from the first time you meet him.  The state of Iowa as well as the entire lottery industry has been very fortunate to have Terry Rich at the helm.

When Terry says in his statement that the lottery rigging investigation was among his biggest achievements, we have to agree, and we'll add that it was a great demonstration of how the lotteries can act in the best interests of its players, take accountability for problems, and work to restore confidence and transparency in the games.

Everything a great leader should do.

We'll never forget the tremendous respect Terry showed to lottery players in general when he asked to conduct an Ask Me Anything on Lottery Post as the full depth of the rigging was uncovered.  It's stuff we've never seen before in the lottery industry, and it provides a model for other lottery leaders to follow.

We wish Terry the very best in his future endeavors, and we hope that Terry will continue to stay actively involved in the lottery industry.

Terry has doubtlessly wished countless lottery players "good luck" over the years, so now it's our turn to return the favor and say "good luck Terry!"

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