Biography: Vernon A. Kirk Delaware
Vernon Kirk has been with the Delaware Lottery since
its startup in 1975, beginning as Administrative Assistant to the Director.
He served in a variety of operational, financial and administrative
management capacities prior to his appointment as Director last October.
Kirk has received the Delaware Award for Excellence in State Service from
Governor Jack Markell and was cited with Tributes from both chambers of the
Delaware General Assembly for his leadership during the development and
successful implementation of the states ventures into sports wagering and
casino table games.
He has a degree in Political Science/Public
Administration from the University of Delaware.
Lottery Director Earns National Lifetime Achievement Award
Vernon Kirk, who began his career
with the Delaware Lottery during its start-up in 1975, was appointed Lottery
Director last October, 2011. Kirk became the 6th Director in the Lotterys
37 year history.
When we asked Vernon about the Lottery of today versus
1975, he spoke of the growth of the industry in general and Delaware in
particular, recalling for example Delawares first Lotto jackpot was
$80,000 in 1983, a considerable difference from the $50 million Powerball
jackpot recently won by a Wilmington couple. But, Kirk said, of all the aspects
of public gaming that have changed over the years, none have been more
significant than technology. He noted that, in its early days, the Lottery
didnt even have PCs in the office; data was placed on IBM keypunch cards
and stored on tape drives that were housed off-site. In fact, in 1978, when
Delaware began its first online game, Play 3, the Lottery piggybacked off of
the Pennsylvania Lotterys central computer system because it didnt
have one of its own.
Kirk went on to say that as the lottery industry
continues to evolve in terms of modernization and innovation, his philosophy is
to embrace change as a way of keeping the Lottery and its products fresh and
relevant. When asked where he saw the Delaware Lottery heading under his
stewardship, Kirk laid out his agenda going forward.
For the near
term, the passage of the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 has
created several new opportunities for the Lottery and we intend to take full
advantage of them, said Kirk. He described how one part of the Act has
already been implemented, the expansion of the Sports Lottery to include Sports
Retailers located throughout the State and that the expansion has been very
successful to date, with a combined increase in handle of more than 40% over
last year. Kirk also said he believes the Lottery will add more sports retail
locations next year.
The introduction of Keno is the next major project on
the table, and Kirk points out that it will be another vehicle to expand and
strengthen the retailer network. He said by enhancing the product mix with this
exciting, fast paced game, it will not only bring in new trade styles, but also
allow the Lottery to benefit from the market experience of some of the
Lotterys many core retailers.
Lastly, Kirk said, Delaware will be
unique with its introduction of iGaming. With todays players
becoming increasingly more mobile, interactive and tech savvy, lotteries must
explore alternative ways to provide them new, delottery.com Issue 39
TICKET TALK 1 Meet the New Lottery Director (CONTD p.2) Prize Number of
Winners Amount 1st 2 $500 2nd 5 $250 3rd 52 $100 4th 51 $50 innovative and
secure products. The internet is one such way and we will seize this
opportunity to utilize it.
Having said that, we asked Kirk if he felt
the introduction of internet gaming would have a negative impact on the
Lotterys core business partners, the retailers.
precedent in Europe where internet gaming has been legal and operating for the
last 10 years, and independent studies have shown that lotteries that have
introduced internet gaming saw increased sales at their brick and mortar retail
locations, said Kirk. It is suggested that one reason for the increase is
that some younger, non-lottery players actually learn about the games on the
internet and then impulse buy at a retail location during regular shopping.
Kirk added there will be opportunities to encourage play at retail locations,
perhaps through player cards and Players Club promotions. One of
our goals will be to push players back to the brick and mortar locations as
much as possible, said Kirk.
Regardless of all of the emerging
changes, we are still a lottery, said Kirk, and our retailers are
at the core of our Lottery; retailers maintain relevance and importance in all
that we do. Kirk went on to note that the Lottery has always had a great
relationship with its retailers and he intends to see that great relationship
continues. Its not about any one individual, its about the
organization, its about the Lottery and its partners, he