Government

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich to retire

Since 2009, lottery has seen increase in sales and proceeds, as well as a fraud investigation

(File photo) Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich with Eric Shaffer of Marion, a 2011 winner.
(File photo) Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich with Eric Shaffer of Marion, a 2011 winner.

CLIVE — Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich, who has led the state gambling enterprise since February 2009, announced Thursday that he intends to retire in late 2018 or early 2019.

Rich, 65, is only the second person to serve as lottery chief operating officer since its 1985 inception. Edward Stanek was the operation’s first leader from 1985 to October 2007.

“Over the past years, I’ve had the privilege of serving three Iowa governors while achieving some significant milestones at the lottery, helping with projects to address some of the state’s biggest challenges, and driving meaningful increases in the vital state proceeds generated by the lottery,” Rich said in a statement. “I’ve done everything I’d hoped to accomplish at the Iowa Lottery. With that success, it’s time to move on.”

Besides spending more time with family and friends, Rich said there are other professional opportunities he would like to pursue. That transition might mean joining an organization as a member of its board of directors or management staff or to produce one more national television show while continuing to present keynote speeches at local and international conferences.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed providing Iowans with entertainment as CEO of the Iowa Lottery. It has been our pleasure to help design successful games with the highest degree of integrity and accountability,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to lead the most prominent national lottery organizations, and my signature has appeared on hundreds of millions of lottery tickets — and checks for Iowa’s biggest lottery prizes. I’m announcing my retirement now so that transition plans can be made at the lottery.”

Under Rich’s leadership, the lottery’s annual sales increased by $100 million — from the $240 million range to over $350 million currently. The lottery proceeds to state causes also increased from the $60 million range in 2009 to the $80 million range now — driven in large part he noted by repeated record sales of instant-scratch tickets.

Fiscal year 2016 went into the books as the lottery’s best year to date — with record sales, proceeds to state causes, prizes to players and retailer commissions. The lottery generated a record $88 million in proceeds that year and annual sales reached a record $366.9 million.

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Under Rich’s watch, the lottery also logged its long-running jackpot investigation that uncovered fraud against U.S. lotteries and resulted in guilty pleas from three men who admitted they illegally claimed prizes by rigging lottery drawings in five states. The Iowa Lottery was named the 2018 winner for an international Gaming-Compliance Award for its work in the case, which spanned seven years.

The jackpot investigation case began with a lottery ticket purchased in Des Moines in December 2010 and culminated in 2017 with guilty pleas from three men who admitted they illegally claimed prizes by rigging lottery drawings in five states. Eddie Tipton, the man at the center of the investigation, installed malicious computer code that allowed him to predict winning numbers in some lottery drawings.

“This case will remain an important reminder to organizations everywhere to keep monitoring and making improvements to stay ahead of those who would try to beat the system,” Rich said. “I’m absolutely proud of the unwavering focus our lottery kept on security and integrity to ensure that our games are fair.”

Tipton pleaded guilty to three felony charges in Iowa and Wisconsin and was sentenced in August 2017 to up to 25 years in prison. He had conspired with friends and family to claim lottery prizes in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin and attempt to claim a lottery jackpot in Iowa, which ultimately was not paid.

Tipton’s younger brother, Tommy Tipton, also pleaded guilty in the case, as did Tipton’s longtime friend, Robert Rhodes.

“It’s appalling that the person at the center of the case once worked at a lottery-industry vendor organization and willingly committed crimes,” Rich said. “He was brought to justice and we have moved forward with an even greater understanding that we must trust but verify in all areas of our operations. We’re pleased that this international award recognizes the team for that effort.”

In addition to his career at the lottery, Rich was chief executive officer of Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines; president and CEO of Rich Heritage Inc., a national marketing and television production company based in Des Moines; and vice president of marketing for Heritage Communications Inc. in Des Moines.

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