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Raimondo nominates state revenue director Furcolo to head Lottery

PROVIDENCE — Gov. Gina Raimondo on Monday nominated the state’s revenue director, Mark Furcolo, to the top spot in the state Lottery.

She chose a one-time deputy treasurer, Jim Thorsen, to replace Furcolo as director of the state Department of Revenue. Both are subject to Senate confirmation.

Furcolo would replace Gerry Aubin, the former deputy police chief in Providence who has led the state Lottery for more than two decades. Aubin announced his plans to retire earlier this year.

The Lottery, and the state-sponsored traditional and casino gambling under its wing,

is the third-largest source of state revenue after the sales and income taxes.

Since the late 1990s, the state-sponsored gambling sector has expanded into casino gambling, online wagering and sports betting. From around $90 million per year in state revenue, the lottery as recently as 2019 contributed nearly $400 million in annual income for the state.

The contribution dropped to $283.9 million in the year that ended on June 30, and a projected $265.2 million this year. In a recent financial update, the Lottery reported a major impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Closure of the State’s two licensed casinos, many Lottery retailers, restaurants and bars, the canceling and elimination of professional and college sporting events, and stay at home regulations had a significant impact on revenues for all Lottery lines of business, and have reduced expected revenues in the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020.”

As a division within the Department of Revenue in recent years, a big focus has been Lottery giant IGT’s bid for a new, no-bid 20 year contract.

“Mark has led the Department of Revenue with distinction since 2017, and I’m excited for him to move into this new position at Lottery. I’m fully confident that Jim’s decades of experience in financial management and government will serve him well as Director of the Department of Revenue,” Raimondo said.

Furcolo has been the 5th director of the state Department in Revenue, since Raimondo took office in January 2015.

When he arrived on the state government scene in October 2017, the governor described him as an “accomplished business and finance professional,″ who had most recently been a senior vice president at Dealertrack Technologies, a provider of on-demand dealership software for the auto industry.

He previously had been the president and CEO of triVIN, a business offering electronic automobile registrations to auto dealers, and electronic automobile titling services to lenders. (Dealertrack Technologies acquired triVIN in 2011.)

Prior to that, Furcolo had been a vice president of finance at GE Capital.

Raimondo on Monday credited Furcolo with a “successful IT implementation and rollout of the federal Real ID program in Rhode Island, the agency-wide expansion of a reservation system at the DMV and the implementation of sports betting program at Lottery.”

Thorsen most recently served as a budget advisor for the U.S. Department of Treasury, “advising developing democracies in best financial practices,” according to a statement issued by the governor’s office.

He was previously the deputy director/CFO of the state-run health insurance exchange known as HealthSourceRI. His previous work credits include 16 years at State Street Global Advisors in public pension management, and deputy state treasurer in the 1990’s under Republican Treas. Nancy Mayer.

In 2005, then-Governor Donald Carcieri appointed Jeff Britt to replace Thorsen on the state commission that oversees the investment of billions in state pension fund assets. (Britt has been in the news most recently as the defendant in a money-laundering trial stemming from his role in House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s 2016 reelection campaign)

She has also chosen a one-time deputy treasurer, Jim Thorsen, to replace Furcolo as director of the state Department of Revenue, subject to Senate confirmation.

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