Lottery director stepping down

Tom Shaheen

August 16, 2010 9:05:40 PM PDT
Tom Shaheen - the N.C. Education Lottery executive director who oversaw the beginning of the state lottery five years ago - said Monday he's stepping down.

Shaheen said he's taking a job with Linq3 - which sells systems that allow lottery ticket sales through ATMs.

"I enjoyed the chance to build a lottery from scratch and to run an organization dedicated to raising money for education in the state, but I've been offered a new opportunity that at this point in my career I found I simply could not pass up," said Shaheen.

Shaheen will be Vice President of Business Development for Linq3.

"I'm the type of person who's always looking for the next challenge," Shaheen said. "It's a matter of me and what I do in my life, and I see this as a great opportunity a great challenge to help the lottery industry as a whole, get into new distribution channels and so I'm make a change for me."

Shaheen says he first learned of the New York-based company a few years ago, when it approached the state to do business. No state is using the software and Shaheen says there are no ethical conflicts in his decision to join the company.

"They aren't doing any business in North Carolina, in fact they don't have any accounts, they're a startup company," Shaheen said. "So I won't be doing any business for North Carolina when I go to work for them."

The lottery act prohibits Shaheen or any other lottery employee from representing a company before the commission for a year, a good thing according to Mitch Kokai with the John Locke Foundation.

"But still you would think that if his business does want to do some business with North Carolina in the future that it could be a leg up for him over any other company that wants to do the same type of thing," Kokai said.

Shaheen plans to continue living and working in North Carolina. He says he will not be involved in choosing his successor.

Alice Garland, one of the deputy executive directors, will serve as acting director starting Monday even though Shaheen's last day will be September 17.

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