It goes to Ernie Passailaigue from South Carolina.
Passailaigue has been Executive Director of the South Carolina Education Lottery since it was started in 2001.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter issued the following statement on Friday afternoon about the hiring of Passailaigue:
"We've got a winner. I first met Ernie Passailaigue in October 2007 at a lottery industry conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Even then, before we even had the Scholarship Lottery Amendment on the ballot, Ernie was enthusiastic about helping Arkansas establish a state lottery with all net proceeds devoted to college scholarships for Arkansas students attending Arkansas colleges and universities.
"Ernie Passailaigue has earned the respect of his colleagues in the lottery business. He has served as president of the North American State and Provincial Lottery Association, chairman of the Powerball group and vice president of the Multistate Lottery Association.
"I spoke with Ernie this afternoon by phone from South Carolina, where he has led that state's successful Education Lottery since its inception in 2002. He expressed his excitement to me about coming to Arkansas to get this enterprise up and running and also said how impressed he was with the beauty of our state and the hospitality of our people.
"I commend the Arkansas Lottery Commission for its choice of an executive director with such significant experience. Hiring an experienced executive director is a major step on the path to getting a lottery up more quickly because it eliminates the need for on-the-job training. I was delighted to learn that the first two steps Ernie Passailaigue wants to take are:
1) Brand our lottery as the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery to emphasize its purpose providing higher-education opportunities for Arkansas students and
2) Begin negotiations with Powerball and Mega Millions for the purpose of bringing one of those hugely popular multistate games to Arkansas.
The Lottery Commission was receptive to both of these ideas."