Ralph Batch, the U.S. lottery leader and pioneer liked to joke, "He wouldn’t mind being a pioneer so long as he didn’t have to go first". Another of his favorite sayings was, "you can always tell a pioneer by the arrows in his back".
In reality, Ralph was the leading lottery pioneer of his time, responsible for many of the most important inovations upon which secure and successful lotteries are based. Ralph started the New Jesey Lottery, which quickly became the most successful lottery in North America. He subsequently started the Illinois Lottery, made that lottery successful and in the process put the illegal numbers games out of
business in Illinois. He completed his pioneering career as a lottery director by rejuvenating and making successful the Delaware Lottery*.
In Tennessee, we have a new set of lottery pioneers, the members of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Education Lottery. To ensure that the Tennessee Lottery gets off to the most successful possible start, the members of this Lottery Board had the leadership-courage to offer the highest salaries and bonus programs among lotteries in the country in order to attract the best lottery start-up director in the world, Rebecca Paul - and a staff of experts that she could attract - despite the storm of criticism that they knew this action would draw.
With Rebecca Paul, the board has chosen well.
Rebecca started her lottery career as director of the Illinois Lottery and immediately excelled. When Florida approved a lottery and needed an outstanding leader, they recruited Rebecca Paul. She and her start-up team then made the Florida Lottery the most successful lottery
start-up, to that time. When Georgia approved a lottery, the governor of Georgia sent a team to Florida to recruit Rebecca to be CEO and start the Georgia Lottery. Her Georgia Lottery start-up eclipsed the Florida start to become the most successful lottery start-up in history.
Her subsequent, exemplary management made the Georgia Lottery the great success that it has become.
The Board of Directors of the Tennessee Lottery has a huge, serious challenge – to see that the state’s new lottery lives up to the great expectations of the people of Tennessee and fulfills the education funding goals of the Tennessee lottery legislation. As new lottery leaders,
these Board members quickly learned that the successful start-up and early, growth years of a lottery are absolutely critical to the lottery’s long-term revenue success. Based upon that knowledge, they committed to pay the premiums necessary to get the most experienced
lottery start-up leader in the world, Rebecca Paul, and a talented staff to start the Tennessee Lottery.
The Board of the Tennessee lottery is now experiencing what every lottery pioneer experiences, arrows in the back from second guessers and detractors with their own agendas. It is a regrettable but historically, predictable scenario. I am sure that the Board will remain confident of its course and will remain resolute in pressing on to success.
Public Gaming Research Institute congratulates and commends the members of the Tennessee Lottery Board of Directors for their wisdom, foresight, courage and pioneering spirit on behalf of their constituents, the people of Tennessee..
* Ralph Batch then became a consultant to Public Gaming Research Institute and was a member of its Board of Directors until he passed away. His name still appears on the masthead of Public Gaming International magazine. He is honored annually at the NASPL awards program by advertising awards presented in his name.