Shaheen, 66, will officially take up his new position on June 1 and will be in charge as the lottery gets ready to launch later this year. The appointment is the latest major development since a bill was passed last August to pave the way for a state lottery.
Who is Thomas N. Shaheen?
Shaheen has extensive experience as a lottery executive, having worked with several different state operators and also served as president of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which runs multi-state lottery games like Powerball. He was executive director of the North Carolina Education Lottery from its startup in 2006 until 2010, and also held the post of chief executive officer with the New Mexico Lottery.
He was involved with the lotteries in Georgia, Texas and Florida as they were starting, and has most recently worked as vice-president and chief policy officer of the lottery technology company Linq3.
There were around 20 other applicants for the job and three were shortlisted for final interviews. After the five board members decided that Shaheen was the right person for the job, his selection was approved by Governor Phil Bryant.
Gerard Gilbert, the vice-chairman of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, said: “His history in the leadership of lotteries will help Mississippi establish our lottery quickly and successfully.”
What He Needs To Do Now?
Shaheen, who will reportedly earn $225,000 a year and be eligible for performance incentives, will now oversee a vital stage of the Mississippi Lottery’s preparations before tickets can even go on sale.
The lottery needs to hire a team of employees to work on such matters as finance and technology, while also working out contracts for the production of items such as scratch-off tickets. Mississippi must also apply to join multi-state games such as Powerball and Mega Millions.
Background checks will also have to be carried out on any retailer that wants to sell lottery tickets, including an examination of their finances. Shaheen is expecting around 1,500 convenience stores, grocery stores and drug stores to apply to sell tickets.
He hopes the lottery will be able to get off the ground quickly and begin to fulfil its purpose of raising money for transportation in the state. “We'll work at a pace to get it started off as quickly as possible because the sooner we get started, the more money that is for roads and bridges.”