Attorney named interim executive director for Kansas Lottery

Stephen Durrell, an attorney, has been named the interim executive director for the Kansas Lottery.

Durrell is an assistant attorney general who has advised the Kansas Lottery for years.

At today’s Kansas Lottery Commission meeting, Durrell said he was asked by Gov. Laura Kelly to be the new interim director of the lottery.

Terry Presta of Overland Park had served as the lottery’s executive director since November 2013.

Durrell today reported to the Kansas Lottery Commission that lottery ticket sales were up last month by 11 percent overall, including a 3.7 percent increase for instant games.

He said the lottery recently awarded the Holiday Millionaire prize to a winner who purchased a ticket in southeast Kansas and came forward to claim the prize. The winner chose to remain anonymous.

Durrell said the lottery has been represented at recent legislative committee meetings where sports wagering is being discussed.

He said there were a number of different players and the lottery wanted to make sure their partners at the casinos and the retailers have a voice in the discussion.

Lottery Commissioner Jim Washington of Basehor asked if he was confident that sports wagering would be approved by the Legislature and possibly be administered by the Kansas Lottery.

Durrell said the state constitution requires gaming in general to be owned and operated by the state, which is why the state owns and operates the casinos in four zones. For sports gaming to be legal, it would have to be run through the state, he said.

While there isn’t a requirement the Kansas Lottery would have to oversee sports wagering, they already oversee other gaming, he said. Some persons think it might be likely for the Kansas Lottery to oversee sports gaming. A private enterprise cannot oversee it, he said.

The Kansas Lottery has added the capability for its system to handle sports wagering, if it should become legal, according to Durrell. The capability was added when the central system was redone in July. The potential to handle sports wagering is in existence should the Legislature give the Kansas Lottery that direction, he added. It gives them a little head start, he added.

Keith Kocher, director of program assurance and integrity for the Kansas Lottery, said the December gaming revenues were pretty good for the state’s casinos.

Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kansas, reported almost $13.8 million in gaming revenues for the month of December 2018, he said. It was an increase compared to $13.2 million in gaming revenues for the month of December 2017, according to Kansas records.

In a written report to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, Hollywood Casino officials stated that December admissions were down about 1 percent compared to December 2017, while slot revenues increased 3.5 percent and table games revenues increased 9.1 percent.

The Hollywood Casino had seven special events in December, and it has four special events planned in January, according to the report.

Other casino gaming revenues for December included Boot Hill, Dodge City, Kansas, $3.5 million, Kansas Star Casino, Mulvane, Kansas, $16.1 million; and Kansas Crossing Casino, Pittsburg, Kansas, $2.8 million.

The state of Kansas receives 22 percent of the casino gaming revenues, while the Unified Government here receives 3 percent of the casino gaming revenues from Hollywood Casino.

Tom Roberts, a Lottery Commission member from Kansas City, Kansas, conducted the Lottery Commission meeting today.

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