Who’s who on the NC Lottery Commission, potential overseer of casinos

Faro, 5 Monte, Roulette, Keno, Bingo, Fan Tan, Twenty-one, Blackjack, Seven and a Half, 6 Klondike, Craps, Poker, Chuck a Luck, Chinese Chuck a Luck (Dai Shu), Wheel of 7 Fortune, Chemin de Fer, Baccarat, Pai Gow, Beat the Banker, Panguingue, Slot 8 machine: These are the many ways you could lose — or if you beat the infinitesimal odds, possibly win — money if House Bill 149 becomes law.

For the first time, HB 149 would allow casinos in North Carolina, outside federally recognized tribal lands. The measure includes not just 37 1/2 pages of casino and gaming legislation, but ties its passage to 11 1/2 pages of language that would enact the long-awaited expansion of the state’s Medicaid program. In sum, for more low-income people to receive health care, North Carolina has to swallow what critics would say is a bitter pill of state-sanctioned gambling.

Responsible for implementing much of this sprawling legislation is the nine-member state Lottery Commission. Once the overseer of scratch-off games at grocery stores and gas stations, the commission will have expanded powers and responsibilities governing the state’s casinos and “video” gambling machines. And there could be a lot of machines: Up to 35,000 within the first three years of the bill becoming law, a number that could increase to 50,000 machines, at the lottery commission’s discretion.

Five of the members are appointed by the governor; the other four are split between the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem.

It’s unclear how commissioners will deal with possible conflicts of interest. For example, commission member Joshua Malcolm is president and CEO of Lumbee Tribe Holdings, the for-profit arm of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. And the Lumbee could operate casinos in nine southern and southeastern counties, according to the proposed legislation. Malcolm could not be immediately reached for comment.

Here are other commission duties, as detailed in the legislation:

  • Issue casino licenses, including determining if the applicant is of  “good character, honesty and integrity”
  • Determine the eligibility of, and license the video gambling merchants, which sell the machines, and the video gambling operators, who own, lease or “otherwise control” the machines
  • Issue permits for the machines 
  • Contract with a “central monitoring system,” to surveil the machine operations. The commission also must “routinely assess and inspect” the operation of the central monitoring system.
  • Approve the independent testing lab, which will determine if a video gambling game or terminal complies with state law
  • Confirm the casino/video gambling game is not within 500 feet of a school or church
  • Distribute the net revenues from the machines to the operators and merchants (30% each), as well to the commission itself (40%)
  • Keep records of how and where the video gambling machines are transported
  • Approve all the “video entertainment games” and “central monitoring system” that oversees them
  • Assess penalties and fines, suspend or revoke licenses
  • Charge license application fees — $50,000 for gaming manufacturers, $250,000 for operators, and $1,000 per location for merchants
  • Allocate this revenue, which is expected to be millions of dollars, to the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Here are the commissioners, term expiration dates and professional backgrounds, according to the NC Education Lottery, LinkedIn and their professional websites.

Ripley Rand (Photo: NC Education Commission)

Ripley Rand, commission chair

Appointed by Gov. Cooper, term expires December 2027.

Rand is a partner in the Raleigh office of law firm Womble Bond Dickinson. Rand also worked as an attorney for the UNC System, and, according to his online biography, specializes in white collar defense. Among his presentations and publications is “Forewarned is Forearmed: How To Be Prepared for When the Government Shows Up.”

He served for six years as a U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina under President Obama. He was a state Superior Court Judge for eight years and presided over both civil and criminal investigations. He lives in Raleigh.

Campaign contributions since 2000:
$9,400 to Cooper, both for his gubernatorial and attorney general campaigns
$18,155 to other Democratic campaigns

Cari Boyce, a lottery commission member (Photo: NC Education Lottery)

Cari Boyce 

Appointed by Gov. Cooper, term expires December 2027.

A former press secretary for ex-Gov. Mike Easley, Boyce retired from Duke Energy in 2021 While at Duke Energy, she worked in corporate communications, sustainability, and environmental & energy policy. 

Boyce is currently serving as an advisor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. She lives in Raleigh.

Campaign contributions since 2000:
$5,394 to Cooper, both for his gubernatorial and attorney general campaigns
$6,996 to other Democratic campaigns

Lindsey Griffin, a member of lottery commission (Photo: NC Education Lottery)

Lindsey Griffin
Reappointed this year by House Speaker Tim Moore. Term expires September 2028. He is a retired commercial contractor, specializing in commercial landscaping. He is on the Greenville Utilities Commission, a position he held when it was wooing Compute North, a controversial cryptomining center, to the city with $50,000 in incentives. Compute North declared bankruptcy before construction began on the project.

No statewide campaign contributions were listed in the NC State Board of Elections database.

Chris Hayes (Photo: NC Education Lottery)

Chris Hayes

Appointed by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, term expires August 2027

Hayes worked as chief of staff to  former State Rep. Thom Tillis and then became Tillis’s deputy chief of staff when the lawmaker was elected to the U.S. Senate. For five years Hayes was a senior legislative analyst for the conservative John William Pope Civitas Institute.

In 2010, Hayes wrote an opinion piece for the Civitas Institute criticizing the state’s film incentives program. He took issue with the $700,000 allotted to produce “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy,” which, despite its salacious title, was merely
rated R.

Hayes also wrote an opinion piece arguing against government-enforced smoking bans in public places.

He is now a lobbyist for Reynolds American, the tobacco company. Hayes lives in Winston-Salem.

Campaign contributions since 2000:
A total of $550 to Republican candidates, including U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry ($100).

Randy Jones (Photo: NC Education Lottery)

Randy Jones

Appointed by House Speaker Tim Moore, term expires August 2027

Jones is a real estate broker with Partners Commercial Realty of Smithfield. He is the general managing partner of RJS Limited and owner of JonRae. He is chairman of the Economic Development Board of Johnston County and chair of the Planning Board for the Town of Pine Level.

Jones lives in Pine Level, in Johnston County.

Campaign contributions since 2000:
$500 to Sen. Phil Berger
$500 to State Rep. Larry Strickland

Nigel Long (Photo: NC Education Lottery Commission)

Nigel Long

Appointed by Gov. Cooper, term expires August 2027.

Long is the founder and senior managing director of Trade Street Advisors, an investment banking firm. He is also founder and president of Dilworth Companies, a private investment firm. He serves as a senior advisor to Fortune 500 companies and CEOs of some of the nation’s largest Minority Owned Businesses, primarily African American-, Hispanic- and Asian-owned. He sits on several boards of civic organizations.

Long lives in Charlotte.

Campaign contributions since 2000:
$6,400 to Cooper’s gubernatorial campaign
$12,900 to other Democratic campaigns

Joshua Malcolm (Photo: NC Education Lottery)

Joshua Malcolm
Appointed by Gov. Cooper, term expires August 2026.

Malcolm is president and CEO of Lumbee Tribe Holdings, the for-profit arm of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. He is a lawyer and served for seven years as an active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force. He also served on the N.C. State Board of Elections.

He lives in Pembroke.

Campaign contributions since 2000:
$5,400 to Cooper for his gubernatorial campaign
$2,900 to other Democratic campaigns

Jason Roth (NC Education Lottery)

Jason B. Roth

Reappointed this year by Senate President Pro Temp Phil Berger. Term expires September 2028.

A former tax consultant, Roth is the Chief Financial Officer and president of ATM USA, which provides automatic teller equipment and services. He also co-owns and helps oversee multiple Mosquito Authority franchises across the country. 

He lives in Cary.

No statewide campaign contributions were listed in the NC State Board of Elections database.

Pamela Whitaker (NC Education Lottery)

Pamela D. Whitaker

Appointed by Gov. Cooper. Term expires August 2026

A retired human resources professional, Whitaker previously served on the lottery commission from 2008 to 2012. She is a board member of several civic organizations in the Triad.

She lives in Winston-Salem.

Campaign contributions since 2000:
$2,500 to Cooper’s gubernatorial campaigns
$10,000 to other Democrats campaigns

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