Acting chief of Illinois lottery named to head Connecticut Lottery Corp.
Gregory H. Smith, acting executive director of the Illinois Lottery and former executor director of the Vermont Lottery Commission, has been named president and chief executive officer of the Connecticut Lottery Corp.
Smith’s hiring, effective July 20, was approved Thursday at a meeting of the Connecticut Lottery’s board of directors.
In a statement, board Chairman Donald DeFronzo said the board’s decision came at the end of a lengthy search that began in March 2017 and was delayed several times “by developments within the Lottery and on the Board.”
Smith will succeed Chelsea Turner, who has served as acting CEO for the past 16 months and will remain with the Connecticut Lottery as acting vice president. Former CEO Anne Noble resigned in September 2016 during a state Department of Consumer Protection investigation of a fraud scheme involving employees at retail lottery outlets.
DeFronzo credited Turner with restoring confidence in the Connecticut Lottery, a quasi-public agency.
"She has taken an agency with a damaged image and improved its standing with the public, improved its financial performance to record levels ... and has helped to establish the CLC as one of the best performing lotteries in the country,” he said.
Smith, who will be paid $200,000 annually, has served as acting executive director of the Illinois State Lottery since 2016, leading a management and technology transition while restructuring a privatized $2.8 billion lottery system. As executive director of the Vermont Lottery from 2012 to 2016, he grew sales and profits by more than 20 percent.
Smith has extensive private sector experience in the hospitality industry and as director of operations for the Vermont Country Store. A Purdue University graduate, he has a degree in hotel and restaurant management.
DeFronzo said Smith’s hiring was “a defining moment” in the Connecticut Lottery’s development.
“In selecting an individual with Greg’s mix of experience and skill we expect to change the face of the Lottery and to move forward with innovative measures that will propel the CLC to the forefront of gaming operations nationally, resulting in expanded growth for the CLC.”
In fiscal 2018, which ended June 30, the Connecticut Lottery contributed a record $345 million to the state’s General Fund.
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