Lottery secretary Delacenserie steps down

Florida Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie, a longtime official at the state agency, submitted his resignation Friday, effective June 2, Gov. Rick Scott's office said.

Delacenserie has been secretary since November 2015, and the announcement from the governor's office did not give a reason for his departure.

“Tom has been a valued member of my team since the start of my administration and I am proud of the great work he has done for Florida's students,” Scott said in a prepared statement, referring to the lottery's role in providing money for education. “I wish Tom and his family the very best in their future endeavors.”

The governor's office did not name a replacement Friday.

Delacenserie started with the lottery in 2000 as district manager in Fort Myers, later serving as director of sales and as deputy secretary of sales and marketing.

The agency has repeatedly announced record monthly and quarterly sales numbers under Delacenserie, but the lottery has come under criticism from some lawmakers.

The House this year filed a lawsuit arguing that a multi-year ticket-sales contract signed in 2016 by the lottery violated state law.

The House, which prevailed in circuit court, contends the contract is illegal because it would spend more money on ticket sales than the Legislature has previously approved for that purpose.

The lottery countered that the contract specifically says full payments will be made if the Legislature approves the spending.

In December, Delacenserie had to defend the agency before a Senate committee over a Sun-Sentinel analysis that concluded the lottery's push to increase scratch-off ticket revenue resulted in sales of the instant games rising three times as fast in high-poverty areas than in other areas.

And earlier this month, the Legislature approved a proposal (HB 937) to require lottery players get warnings --- on tickets and in ads --- about the addictive nature of the games starting next year.

The bill has yet to land on Scott's desk. Delacenserie replaced former Secretary Cynthia O'Connell, who stepped down in the wake of reports that she spent more than $30,000 on travel in a single year.

The agency had also been under fire at the time due to a Palm Beach Post investigation that raised questions about lottery-ticket sales fraud.

The newspaper's reports showed that some frequent lottery winners were convenience-store owners or clerks.