Lotto workers tackle to-do list

GTECH Holdings will bring in dozens of people to ensure games begin March 30

Staff WriterFebruary 1, 2006 

With the ink barely dry on a new multimillion-dollar contract to operate North Carolina's upcoming lottery games, winning bidder GTECH Holdings of Rhode Island went to work Tuesday to build the systems that will make the games work.

On the to-do list:

Running wires, installing satellite receivers, assembling machines, training employees, thinking up games, and much more, company officials said Tuesday.

In less than two months, on March 30, the first scratch-off ticket will be sold.

The main person that GTECH has put on the ground in North Carolina is no stranger to lottery director Tom Shaheen or several executives Shaheen has hired from the Georgia lottery.

Craig M. Fitzgerald, GTECH's regional director of business development, was in charge of the lottery contract held by GTECH in New Mexico, where Shaheen last worked.

Fitzgerald also worked alongside Shaheen at the Georgia lottery from 1993 to 2000. Fitzgerald was vice president of systems development in that time. Shaheen was vice president of sales and then chief of staff before taking the top job in New Mexico.

On Tuesday, Fitzgerald and Shaheen met at the lottery's offices near Cary Crossroads shopping area to map out the work ahead.

They expressed confidence that the two-month timeline will be met -- which would make it one of the fastest lottery startups ever.

"Speed is not on the top of our agenda right now," Shaheen said. "We're focused on security and integrity and making sure everything is done right."

GTECH will earn an estimated $19 million in the first year of a contract that is roughly pegged at being worth $180 million over seven years.

Fitzgerald said that 100 to 150 GTECH employees will descend on the state and will stay here until the games are running. Powerball tickets are due to go on sale May 30.

Fitzgerald said that, over the long term, GTECH will assign about 40 or 45 employees to North Carolina.

Staff writer J. Andrew Curliss can be reached at 829-4840 or acurliss@newsobserver.com.

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