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Lottery CEO begins job early, says games could start Feb. 10

Sep 23, 2003, 3:42 am

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Tennessee Lottery

Rebecca Paul began as director of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. more than a week early, meaning the first scratch-off games could be available for sale ahead of schedule.

Paul, who was hired away from the Georgia Lottery on Sept. 8 to run Tennessees startup operation, was supposed to begin her new duties Oct. 1. Instead, she spent Monday pitching the games and their benefits to a Nashville civic group.

One of the potential takers was Steven Greil, president of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. After Pauls speech, Greil told her he would pursue selling lottery tickets at the centers box office in the heart of the downtown office district.

Greil said he was persuaded by the 6.5 percent commission retailers are paid.

We could make new money with our existing infrastructure, Greil said.

While the arts center is not a location most people envision selling lottery tickets, it might not be the most unusual under Pauls leadership, she said. When she directed Floridas lottery, a barbershop near the Miami airport was the top seller. In Georgia, a wedding chapel in Albany lured customers with its sign, Get hitched. Get rich.

But convenience stores usually sell about three-quarters of all lottery tickets, Paul said.

Paul, who will make a base salary of $350,000 with incentives that could push her yearly compensation to $752,500 as the nations highest-paid lottery director, said she left Georgia because nothing in my life made my heart beat fast.

She made approximately $500,000 a year in Georgia.

Im the kind of high-energy person who likes the challenge, she said. I was very happy and satisfied and stable and could take every Friday off and go to the beach. Thats not how I like to live.

Paul said she turned down an offer from former California Gov. Pete Wilson to run that states games, but fell in love with Nashville during Georgias discussions with the Tennessee Lotterys board when the two states were thinking of partnering on lottery business deals.

It felt like home, she said.

Paul has spent the two weeks since she was hired working on the startup of Tennessees games. Among the goals she must meet to earn all of her potential compensation is starting scratch-off games by Feb. 17 _which could now be Feb. 10 _ electronic games by April 15 and generate $122 million between the start of the games and June 30.

That timetable could be altered with Paul beginning the job early. The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss changes in Pauls bonus package, which is tied to target start date.

Paul attended a national lottery conference in New Orleans a week ago. While there, she tried to recruit some of the six to eight executives she plans to hire for her management team. On Monday, she had no personnel decisions to announce, she said.

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