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Who is the Ohio Lottery Commissioner?

The Ohio Lottery Commissioner is an important position that oversees the operations of the Ohio Lottery. The commissioner is appointed by the Governor of Ohio and confirmed by the Ohio Senate. The commissioner serves as the head of the Ohio Lottery Commission, which was established in 1974 to oversee lottery operations in the state of Ohio.

What are the responsibilities of the Ohio Lottery Commissioner?

The Ohio Lottery Commissioner has a number of key responsibilities, including:

  • Overseeing all aspects of lottery games in Ohio, including game development, marketing, sales, and distribution
  • Approving and establishing all rules and regulations governing the lottery
  • Selecting lottery retailers and monitoring their operations
  • Overseeing the licensing of lottery vendors and suppliers
  • Establishing lottery ticket prices, prize structures, and manner of prize payments
  • Approving all advertising, promotion, and public relations activities
  • Preparing the annual budget for lottery operations
  • Providing recommendations and advice to the Governor and General Assembly on lottery-related issues
  • Ensuring the integrity, fairness, and honesty of all lottery games

As head of the Ohio Lottery Commission, the commissioner also oversees a staff that is responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of lottery games. The commissioner works closely with the commission’s Deputy Director, Chief Financial Officer, and various other senior managers.

Who is the current Ohio Lottery Commissioner?

The current Ohio Lottery Commissioner is Pat McDonald, who was appointed to the position by Governor Mike DeWine in January 2019. McDonald previously served as the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Ohio Lottery prior to being appointed commissioner.

Some key facts about current Commissioner Pat McDonald:

  • Assumed office on February 4, 2019
  • Oversees an annual revenue of over $1 billion in lottery sales
  • Nearly 3,500 Ohio Lottery retailers across the state
  • Oversees a staff of over 100 employees
  • 33 years of experience in the public and private sector
  • Previous roles included Chief Legal Counsel for Governor George Voinovich and senior positions at icotec AG
  • Juris Doctor degree from Capital University Law School

As Commissioner, Pat McDonald serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The position does not have a set term limit.

What are the qualifications to be the Ohio Lottery Commissioner?

To be appointed Ohio Lottery Commissioner, an individual must meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Be a resident of Ohio
  • Have at least 5 years experience in a professional occupation such as accounting, business management, law, marketing, public administration, or financial services
  • Demonstrate integrity and experience in leadership
  • Have experience in oversight of large enterprises and good interpersonal communication skills
  • Submit to a background check and financial disclosures
  • Not have held political office or have conflicts of interest that would prohibit the execution of duties

While not an absolute requirement, most Ohio Lottery Commissioners also have some prior experience in the gaming, lottery, marketing, or legal fields. A commissioner is expected to have strong interpersonal, management, regulatory, and budgeting skills given the significant responsibilities of overseeing a large state agency with extensive public interaction.

What is the length of the term for an Ohio Lottery Commissioner?

Unlike some public offices, the Ohio Lottery Commissioner does not have a set term limit. The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the current Governor. The commissioner may be removed from office by the Governor at any time.

In practice, lottery commissioners typically serve for the duration of the Governor that appointed them. It is common for an incoming Governor to appoint a new lottery commissioner to coincide with the beginning of their administration.

For example, current commissioner Pat McDonald was appointed at the outset of Governor Mike DeWine’s administration in 2019. It is likely that Commissioner McDonald will serve until at least the end of DeWine’s term in 2023, if not longer at the Governor’s prerogative.

There are no term limits on how long an individual can serve as Ohio Lottery Commissioner. Once appointed, a commissioner can theoretically continue serving under multiple administrations unless removed by a sitting Governor.

How is the Ohio Lottery Commissioner appointed?

The Ohio Lottery Commissioner is appointed solely at the discretion of the incumbent Governor. The Governor is not required to receive recommendations or evaluate multiple candidates for the position.

However, in practice most Governors do use an application process and conduct preliminary vetting before making an appointment. Well qualified candidates are typically considered based on their background, experience, and alignment with the Governor’s policy objectives.

Once the Governor selects their choice for Lottery Commissioner, the appointment must be confirmed by the Ohio Senate. The confirmation process involves background checks and public hearings before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee.

After the Senate committee endorses the nomination, it advances to a vote by the full Ohio Senate. A majority vote is required to confirm the appointment. However, rejections of a Governor’s nominees are historically very rare during the confirmation process.

What is the annual salary for the Ohio Lottery Commissioner?

The annual salary for the Ohio Lottery Commissioner is $150,000 per year as of 2023. This salary puts the commissioner amongst the highest paid state officials in Ohio.

The lottery commissioner’s salary is set by Ohio law and is not subject to any COLA or inflation adjustment. Any changes to the commissioner’s salary must be passed by the state legislature.

For reference, here are some recent salaries for Ohio Lottery Commissioners:

Ohio Lottery Commissioner Annual Salary Years in Office
Pat McDonald $150,000 2019-Present
William Zielke $150,000 2011-2019
Michael Dolan $140,000 2007-2011
Tom Hayes $125,000 1999-2007

In addition to the commissioner’s salary, the Lottery Commission budget also covers staff salaries, vendor contracts, advertising, gaming operations, and other administrative expenses needed to oversee Ohio’s lottery system.

Does the Ohio Lottery Commissioner have any staff or assistants?

Yes, as head of the Ohio Lottery Commission, the lottery commissioner has a full staff who manage various aspects of the lottery under their supervision.

Some of the key senior staff positions under the commissioner include:

  • Deputy Director – Assists the commissioner in day-to-day operations and fills in for the commissioner as needed.
  • Chief Financial Officer – Oversees the budget, accounting, revenue, and financial reporting for lottery operations.
  • Chief Operating Officer – Manages gaming technology, field operations, and logistics such as ticket distribution and validation.
  • Chief Marketing Officer – Oversees market research, brand strategy, advertising campaigns, promotions, and media relations.
  • Chief Legal Counsel – Provides legal advice and services regarding regulations, vendor contracts, and statutory compliance.
  • Human Resources Director – Manages recruitment, benefits, compliance, employee relations, and staff development.

In total, the Ohio Lottery Commission employs over 100 staff members across various functions such as marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources, gaming operations, IT, security, and warehouse operations.

Where is the Ohio Lottery Commission headquartered?

The headquarters of the Ohio Lottery Commission is located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

The street address of the lottery commission headquarters is:

Ohio Lottery Commission
615 West Superior Ave

Cleveland, OH 44113

The Cleveland office serves as the main site for lottery operations and houses the commissioner’s office as well as the senior staff. The multi-story building includes work spaces for various departments, storage and warehouse facilities, gaming operations, and staff amenities.

There are also eight regional offices located throughout Ohio. However, the main administrative offices remain at the Cleveland headquarters under the commissioner’s oversight.

What is the history of the Ohio Lottery Commission?

The Ohio Lottery Commission was created in 1973 following the passage of a statewide ballot referendum approving a lottery system. The goal was to use lottery revenues to supplement state educational funding.

Key milestones in the Ohio Lottery Commission history include:

  • 1974 – The original lottery bill HB 674 authorizes a state-operated lottery
  • 1974 – Harry Stephens appointed as the first Ohio Lottery Commissioner
  • 1974 – Lottery ticket sales begin, leading to over $84 million in first-year revenues
  • 1975 – Daily “Pick 3” lottery game launched
  • 1980 – Weekly “Buckeye 300” lottery game launched
  • 1987 – Lottery profits surpass $500 million annually
  • 1996 – Video lottery terminals installed at seven horse racing tracks
  • 2009 – First scratch-off ticket vending machines installed across Ohio
  • 2012 – Powerball and Mega Millions lottery games added
  • 2019 – Pat McDonald becomes the eighth appointed Ohio Lottery Commissioner

Over its history, the Ohio Lottery has contributed over $23 billion to education funding in the state. Today, lottery profits make up approximately 5% of total state education assistance.

How much revenue does the Ohio Lottery generate?

The Ohio Lottery generates significant revenues annually that are contributed to state educational funding. Some key facts about Ohio Lottery revenues:

  • In fiscal year 2022, the Ohio Lottery had total ticket sales exceeding $1.23 billion.
  • This generated over $750 million in net revenue that went to education funding.
  • On average, the Ohio Lottery contributes approximately 5% of total state education funding from its annual revenues.
  • Since inception in 1974, the lottery has provided over $23 billion in profits to support Ohio schools.
  • The most profitable year was fiscal 2012, when the lottery brought in $803 million in profits.
  • Sales and profits have grown steadily over time, more than doubling since 2000.

The Ohio Lottery offers a range of draw games, scratch-off tickets, and other lottery games that provide ongoing sources of revenue. Profits are determined after paying prizes, retailer commissions, and operating expenses.

Under Ohio law, all net revenues from the lottery must go towards state educational funding. The Ohio Lottery Commission oversees responsible growth and management of games to maximize profits for this purpose.


The Ohio Lottery Commissioner oversees a large state agency that generates over $1 billion annually in ticket sales and hundreds of millions in net profits each year. Appointed by the Governor, the commissioner has significant responsibilities managing lottery operations, finances, sales, gaming, and regulatory compliance.

With education as the lottery’s beneficiary, the commissioner plays an important role in providing supplemental funding for Ohio schools. The oversight and integrity of lottery games also ensures fairness for players across the state. The position requires exceptional leadership, management, budgeting, and interpersonal skills.