Florida Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie is resigning effective the beginning of June, sources told FloridaPolitics.com on Friday.
The move was confirmed by the Governor’s Office, which provided a copy of his resignation letter. The letter did not mention his future plans but Delacenserie wrote that he “enjoyed all of my 17 years with the Florida Lottery but none more than the time spent under your leadership.”
Delacenserie has been in the top job since November 2015, when he replaced former Secretary Cynthia O’Connell. A spokeswoman for the Lottery was in a meeting Friday afternoon and unavailable, an assistant said.
Delacenserie has overseen the growth and escalating sales of Lottery products, leading to the “strongest start ever to the final quarter of the fiscal year, with record sales for the month of April totaling more than $528 million,” a recent press release said.
The Lottery’s profits go into the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, which among other things pays for Florida Bright Futures Scholarships.
“I am extremely proud of our Florida Lottery team and retailers as we continue to shatter previous records,” Delacenserie said in the release. “In addition to their winning experiences, our players should take pride in knowing that with the purchase of every Lottery ticket, they are making a difference in the lives of Florida’s students.”
There have been stumbles, however.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran sued the agency in February, saying it went on an illegal spending spree last year when it inked a $700 million deal with IGT (International Game Technology) for new equipment. The next month, a Tallahassee judge sided with Corcoran and invalidated the contract.
Judge Karen Gievers faulted the agency for, among other things, not first seeking the Legislature’s permission to enter into a deal that committed the state to as much as two decades’ worth of funding.
Moreover, lawmakers this Session passed a bill requiring lottery ticket warning labels after removing a requirement that warnings also be displayed at counters where tickets are sold. It has not yet been sent to Gov. Rick Scott.
The bill mandates six rotating warnings on lottery tickets and advertisements. They include “WARNING: GAMBLING CAN BE ADDICTIVE” and “WARNING: YOUR ODDS OF WINNING THE TOP PRIZE ARE EXTREMELY LOW.”
A press release sent later Friday said “further announcements on agency leadership will be made at a later date.”
“Tom has done a great job and under his leadership, the Lottery has seen record sales and made historic contributions to Florida’s education system,” Scott said in a statement.
“Tom has been a valued member of my team since the start of my administration and I am proud of the great work he has done for Florida’s students,” he added. “I wish Tom and his family the very best in their future endeavors.”
Delacenserie began with the Lottery in 2000 as the Fort Myers district manager, later promoted in 2005 to the Lottery’s Director of Sales. In 2013, he became the Lottery’s Deputy Secretary of Sales and Marketing, then served as interim secretary after O’Connell’s departure.
She quit after four years as secretary amid questions about her work habits, travel schedule and spending.
Her abrupt resignation came shortly after POLITICO Florida reported that she had taken nearly nine weeks of vacation and racked up nearly $30,000 in travel bills.