West Virginia Lottery Director resigns day before sports betting goes live

CHARLESTON — In a surprise move, the director of the West Virginia Lottery resigned the day before the first sports betting operation goes live in the state.

Alan Larrick, director of the West Virginia Lottery Commission, resigned Friday according to a release from the Governor’s Office.

“After the successful launch of sports gaming at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town yesterday, Alan Larrick informed Gov. Jim Justice that he would step down as the Director of the West Virginia Lottery effective September 1, 2018,” the release said.

Justice appointed Larrick as director in January 2017. Larrick, a Beckley native, has worked as 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 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, had no information when called Friday shortly before the Governor’s statement was released.

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

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 of Delegates and state Senate passed legislation March 3 in anticipation of a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing sports betting in May.

Beginning today, Hollywood Casino in Charles Town will be the first racetrack and casino in the state to go live with sports betting.

“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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