Succeeding Greg Smith

Head of D.C. Lottery Frank Suarez resigns to join Connecticut Lottery as new CEO, President

Reading time 2:07 min

Frank Suarez, the current Executive Director of the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming, has been named the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation. Under his new role, announced Thursday, Suarez will lead Connecticut's quasi-public lottery agency, which produces about $400 million in annual profits for the state.

Suarez, chosen after an 11-month nationwide search to fill the position, is set to begin his term with the CT Lottery on August 1. He succeeds Greg Smith, who will remain as a consultant until the end of September. Smith, who was hired in 2018, informed the lottery a year ago of his intention to retire in 2024.

The new CEO will take over as the lottery tries to recover from a series of recent problems. These include issues with a new point-of-sales system, which led to a few wrongly invalidated winning tickets in 2023. 

Suarez's term also comes amid changes in the agency's sports betting vendor. Rush Street Interactive, the Illinois-based company chosen to operate the lottery’s online sportsbook, and the Connecticut Lottery jointly announced the decision to bring their partnership to an end on March 27, 2023

While the parties offered little explanation for the end of the contract at the time, RSI officials said in an earnings call that the company was not seeing an "appropriate return on investment" from the deal. The lottery announced Fanatics Betting & Gaming as its new sportsbook vendor in December.

“I am honored and excited to join the Connecticut Lottery Corporation and to work with the talented team here to drive continued growth and success,” Suarez said in a press release. “Our focus will be on maximizing revenue for the state while maintaining the highest standards of integrity and responsible gaming.”

In a statement, the Connecticut Lottery credited Suarez for turning around a losing sportsbook. “During his tenure, Mr. Suarez directed a remarkable turnaround in sports betting operations, transforming a loss into profitability in less than a year and establishing the DC Lottery sportsbook as the largest in the District,” CT Lottery said.

The statement also credited Suarez with leading “the conversion to a new mobile and online sports betting platform, resulting in an astounding 887% growth in gross gaming revenue within the first 30 days of operation," referring to FanDuel's takeover as the sole mobile sports betting vendor in D.C.

Robert Simmelkjaer, board chair of the CLC, said that Suarez brings "exceptional leadership skills, extensive industry experience" and a "visionary approach" that "make him the perfect choice to guide our company into the next phase of growth and innovation."

"We are confident that, under his stewardship, we will continue to achieve remarkable success and continue to deliver value to our players and revenue to the State of Connecticut," Simmelkjaer further said of the appointment.

Before joining the DC Lottery in August 2021, Suarez was the deputy executive director in charge of brand management and communications at the North Carolina Education Lottery. He previously worked in marketing and brand management in the consumer food and restaurant industries. Suarez has an MBA from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina. 

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