Connecticut Lottery Hires Former DC Lottery Head Suarez, Who Oversaw Controversial Intralot Contract

Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) officials are “thrilled to welcome” Frank Suarez as the state agency’s new president and CEO. The June 13 CLC appointment announcement mentions his Aug. 1 start date and regards his tenure leading the DC Lottery‘s online sports betting marketplace as positive, rather than problematic.

Suarez won out in an 11-month-long search that involved about 300 applicants. He has 10 years of relevant experience. Suarez is “best aligned with CLC’s core values and vision for the future.”

The announcement says all of that.

However, the CT Lottery announcement never mentions Intralot or FanDuel by name.

Instead, CLC lauds Suarez for overseeing positive outcomes from FanDuel Sportsbook‘s launch on April 15, 2024. (Again, without mentioning brand names. However, a DC Lottery press release using the exact statistics as CLC makes it clear that the performance reference is about FanDuel Sportsbook.)

The CT Lottery also touts the new CLC president and CEO for his work on the DC Lottery’s iLottery.

The announcement doesn’t mention the CT Lottery’s troubles launching its own iLottery. The new service soft-launched on June 10, 2024. That’s years after the Oct. 19, 2021, launch of Connecticut online casino and sports betting, which were legalized at the same time as iLottery.

In June 2023, International Game Technology (IGT) started work on the Connecticut iLottery app, but officials delayed the launch for a year due to quality control issues.

Connecticut Lottery Bets on Suarez

The CLC announcement said Suarez can help the Connecticut Lottery reach its goals.

CLC Board Chairman Robert T. Simmelkjaer says:

We are thrilled to welcome Frank Suarez as our new President and CEO. His exceptional leadership skills, extensive industry experience, and visionary approach make him the perfect choice to guide our company into the next phase of growth and innovation. We are confident that, under his stewardship, we will continue to achieve remarkable success and continue to deliver value to our players and revenue to the State of Connecticut.

The CT Lottery didn’t return repeated requests for comment from Bonus about its iLottery launch.

Suarez and the DC Lottery

Intralot powered the District of Columbia’s inaugural sports betting app, GambetDC Sportsbook, when the marketplace launched on May 28, 2020.

Suarez arrived at the DC Lottery in August 2021.

By June 2023, DC gaming regulators were accusing Intralot of failing to meet the terms of its contract.

On March 9, 2024, DC’s gaming regulator, the Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG), said FanDuel would assume GambetDC’s role as a sports wagering subcontractor to Intralot.

On April 15, 2024, FanDuel Sportsbook launched in the district.

DC Lottery and CLC quote the same statistic about FanDuel Sportsbook’s performance from April 15 to May 14.

The CLC lauds Suarez for negotiating and leading the DC Lottery’s sportsbook conversion, “resulting in an astounding 887% growth in gross gaming revenue within the first 30 days of operation.”

CLC says it’s that experience, including his previous seven years with the North Carolina Education Lottery, that makes Suarez “uniquely qualified to lead CLC into its next phase of growth and innovation.”

The Connecticut Lottery announcement further reads:

Mr. Suarez also helped to revitalize iLottery marketing strategies, launch a new mobile app and expand the DC Lottery’s game portfolio. These efforts led to a 168% increase in gross gaming revenue, ensuring long-term growth and profitability for the iLottery segment.

Connecticut Lottery Sportsbook Issues

Fanatics Sportsbook partners with CLC.

However, Fanatics Sportsbook is a recent addition. The betting brand that took its first steps in January 2023 took over the Connecticut Lottery contract just 12 months later.

That happened because CT Lottery’s first online gambling operator, Rush Street Interactive (RSI), ducked out in March 2023. RSI (Rush Street Interactive 10,17 +4,52%) was fewer than two years into a 10-year contract. While online casino enthusiasts are familiar with BetRivers, RSI had operated in Connecticut under its lesser-known brand, PlaySugarHouse.

Meanwhile, Fanatics Sportsbook competes with top US online gambling operators in the state housing 3.6 million residents.

DraftKings (DraftKings 39,48 +4,28%) and FanDuel are paired with two Connecticut tribes.

Foxwoods Resort Casino allows Nutmeggers to bet on DraftKings Casino and DraftKings Sportsbook.

Tribal casino Mohegan Sun partners with FanDuel Group-powered Mohegan Sun Casino and FanDuel Sportsbook. Yes, the FanDuel Sportsbook that CLC credits Suarez as using to help turn around the DC Lottery’s fortunes.

Perhaps that’s why the Connecticut Lottery announcement about Suarez doesn’t mention FanDuel’s name.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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