JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The first president of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation said Wednesday that he will retire June 30, just over two years after he was hired and a year and a half after the corporation started selling tickets for the games of chance.
Mississippi legislators voted in 2018 to join the majority of other states that have lotteries. A board of directors hired Tom Shaheen in May 2019, and he began work the following month. Shaheen had worked for lotteries in several states and is a former president of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball.
“After spending more than 32 years in the lottery industry, it is time for me to take a step back and spend time with family," Shaheen said in a news release Wednesday. He will turn 68 in May.
The Mississippi Lottery, which began selling tickets in November 2019, now has 74 employees. The board of directors intends to choose a new president before Shaheen retires.
“When he informed us in January he was contemplating retirement, we knew he would leave massive shoes to fill," board chairman Mike McGrevey said in the news release. “Tom’s leadership has been instrumental to the smooth and successful start-up of the lottery, and we are immensely grateful for his time with us.”
Shaheen moved from Arizona to Mississippi for the job that had an annual base salary of $225,000. The board said he also would be eligible for performance incentives.
Shaheen previously worked as vice president and chief policy officer of a lottery technology company, Linq3. He was executive director the North Carolina Education Lottery from 2005 to 2010. Before that was chief executive officer of the New Mexico Lottery. He also worked for lotteries in Georgia, Texas and Florida as they were starting.
Mississippi law specifies that the first $80 million generated by the lottery each year will go into improving or building highways and bridges. After that, the proceeds go to education.
The lottery put $70.7 million into the Mississippi budget from December 2019 through June 2020. During the current fiscal year that started July 1, and the lottery transferred $84.9 million to the state from July through February.