WV Lottery Director resigns day before sports betting goes live

CHARLESTON — The director of the West Virginia Lottery has resigned.

Alan Larrick’s resignation became effective Saturday, Gov. Jim Justice said.

“After the successful launch of sports gaming at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town yesterday (Thursday), Alan Larrick informed Gov. Jim Justice that he would step down as the director of the West Virginia Lottery effective Sept. 1, 2018,” the release from the governor’s office said.

Justice appointed Larrick in January 2017. Larrick, a Beckley native, was an attorney for 38 years in Beckley, forming the Larrick Law Offices in 1996.

“There is no question he has done an excellent job and he will be missed,” Justice said.

Phone calls for comment to the governor’s office, the Lottery and Larrick’s law office were not returned. The state Department of Revenue, which oversees the Lottery Commission, didn’t know of the resignation Friday before the governor’s statement was released.

“I had not heard that, I had no idea,” said Kathy Torlone, an executive assistant to Secretary Dave Hardy and listed as the contact for interviews. “Nobody in this office had heard anything.”

In a statement released later Friday evening, Justice appointed Doug Buffington, the deputy secretary for the West Virginia Secretary of Revenue, to serve as acting lottery director.

The Lottery Commission oversees and regulates all games, limited video lottery, racetrack video lottery, racetrack table games, and casino gaming. It now regulates sports betting in the state after the West Virginia House and Senate passed legislation March 3 in anticipation of a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing sports betting in May. Hollywood Casino in Charles Town was the first racetrack and casino in the state to go live with sports betting Saturday.

“Larrick oversaw a 12 percent increase in instant sales, the first year over year increase in instant sales in more than a decade, and a $12 million total sales increase from the previous year, the first year over year sales increase since 2012,” according to the Governor’s Office.

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