The Connecticut Lottery Corporation has a new chairman who is looking to put its lingering legal disputes behind it as it looks to move forward with online gaming.
Rob Simmelkjaer, Gov. Ned Lamont’s new appointee as board chairman, put one of those legal settlements on the agenda Thursday for a vote.
The Connecticut Lottery board voted 8-2 Thursday to pay $205,000 to former lottery security chief Alfred Dupuis, who said he was retaliated against for blowing the whistle on irregularities with the 5 Card Cash game that was shut down in 2015 because of fraud by lottery retailers.
The settlement includes a non-disparagement clause.
“The CLC and Mr. Dupuis have resolved their difference and ended their dispute without admitting the claims or defenses of the other,” the settlement says. “The CLC thanks Mr. Dupis for his many years of dedicated service.”
Simmelkjaer said that now is the time to “put whatever negative storylines that have existed aside, clean up any past issues as quickly and as fairly as we can and to focus on the work of generating revenue for the taxpayers in this state at a time that this is desperately needed.”
He said 17 states have legalized sports betting and half a dozen states have authorized iLottery in some form or another.
“The COVID crisis and the economic impact of that has created an acute need for the state of Connecticut to look at all options to grow revenue in a way that doesn’t hurt taxpayers or essential services,” Simmelkjaer said. “There’s no other entity in the state that can give taxpayers the kind of returns that the Connecticut Lottery Corporation can for any new type of gaming.”
He said this corporation has a great track record of delivering.
The quasi-public lottery agency raised $370 million in state revenue last year on $1.3 billion in ticket sales.
Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn Wooden applauded the settlement.
“Approving this settlement is the best way to protect taxpayers from unnecessary additional financial risk as pursuing litigation would have ended up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional costs. The Lottery has a long history of missteps and it’s time to set a new course,” Wooden said. “I look forward to working with the new board chair, Rob Simmelkjaer, to restore the public’s trust in the Lottery and its operations.”
Lamont said he’s still talking with the two tribes, who own casinos in the southeastern part of the state, and there are “ways we can move this forward without it getting stuck in litigation.”
The tribes revenue-sharing agreement with Connecticut makes negotiations over expansion of gaming in Connecticut harder than it might be in other states. Simmelkjaer wants to make sure the lottery continues to be part of the discussion.