Kentucky Lottery Promotes Harville as Agency’s First Female President and CEO

Posted on: September 20, 2020, 12:13h. 

Last updated on: October 14, 2020, 12:42h.

The Kentucky Lottery Corp. has a new president and CEO. Mary Harville ascended to the position after Gov. Andy Beshear appointed her, and the lottery’s Board of Directors ratified the move during a special meeting on Thursday.

Kentucky Lottery
After serving as the Kentucky Lottery’s senior vice president and general counsel for 16 years, Mary Harville was named the agency’s sixth president and CEO this past week. (Image: Kentucky Lottery)

Harville takes over the top spot after serving 16 years as the agency’s senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. Prior to that, she was an attorney for a Louisville-based law firm for 16 years.

Based upon her many years of senior leadership with the Kentucky Lottery, as Board Chair I can confidently assert that Mary’s selection as CEO is a wonderful step in keeping the Kentucky Lottery moving forward to new and bigger heights,” said Kentucky Lottery Board Chairman Mark Sommer.

Harville is the first female CEO in the Kentucky Lottery’s history, and sixth overall. She succeeds Tom Delacenserie, who served in the post for three years before retiring in March.

Kentucky Lottery Record Sales Growth Continues

The new CEO will oversee a lottery that saw record growth continue even with the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, the Kentucky Lottery reported total sales of $1.2 billion for the 2020 fiscal year, which ended in June. That was $73.8 million, or 6.2 percent, higher than the previous record set in 2019.

The 2021 fiscal year enjoyed a strong start. Last month, the lottery announced monthly sales for July of $124.4 million, which represented a 45.9 percent, or more than $39 million, increase from July 2019. Scratch-off games fueled most of the growth, with sales increasing by 51.8 percent, or $26.4 million, to $77.5 million.

Online lottery sales also grew exponentially, as the $6.4 million generated was up 304.8 percent from the same period last year.

The majority of lottery proceeds go to fund the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship program, which awards funding to students for each year they earn a 2.5 grade point average or higher in high school. Students can also earn bonuses based on the ACT or SAT scores. The scholarship money can be used at any public in-state university and most private colleges and trade schools, too.

For 2020, the lottery sent $271.4 million to the state’s general fund for KEES. Another $7.1 million in unclaimed prizes went into the KEES Reserve Fund.

“As a life-long Kentuckian and graduate of a Kentucky university, I am also proud to lead the organization that funds KEES scholarships for Kentucky college students, and my goal is to ensure we continue to provide this much-needed funding,” Harville said.

More Women in Lottery Leadership

Harville becoming the Kentucky Lottery’s top executive comes at a time when more women are being tabbed to lead state-run lotteries.

Last month, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries approved its first all-female slate of officers. Montana Lottery Director Angela Wong serves as president, and Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Sarah Taylor is the first vice president. Georgia Lottery President and CEO Gretchen Corbin is the second vice president, and Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin serves as treasurer.

“Ensuring gender equity brings valuable depth to an organization, adding a well-rounded voice to both internal and external discussions,” said Women’s Initiative in Lottery Leadership Founder Rebecca Paul Hargrove, who also serves as the World Lottery Association president and president and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery. “This new slate of NASPL officers are exceptional leaders that set strong examples and inspire others to be the best they can be, and I am truly excited for what the future holds for our industry.”