The state of Ohio's Lottery Director resigned on August 4th, 2009 from a rocky and challenging tenure serving in Governor Ted Strickland's cabinet as Ohio tries to diverse the lottery's offering like keno to include video slot machines at state horse racing tracks. Director Dolan did not say the reasons why he is leaving the state lottery in his resignation letter to Gov. Strickland other than to say that he had thought about the direction that the lottery is heading including the new laws for slot machines.
Dolan that his reflection has led him to decide that the best interest of the Lottery Commission and the state of Ohio as well his personal interests, it would be best fulfilled by passing the lottery "baton" to the next "runner" so that the next part of the race can be completed freshly. Dolan will continue to serve as lottery director until Gov. Strickland decides on his replacement.
Dolan's challenging tenure included being criticized in an Ohio Inspector general report for giving free lottery tickets to a state trooper who had pulled him over without a front license plate in his card and found out that he was not wearing a seatbelt.
The trooper let off Dolan with a verbal warning. Dolan sent the trooper 100 instant tickets. In response to the criticism of the Inspector General report, Dolan said that he regretted his actions because it reflected poorly on the state lottery but stopped short of confirming that he did anything wrong. Dolan also appeared to be unprepared to answer queries during hearings held by Senate Republicans to study the slots plan of Gov. Strickland.
There were also questions about the truthfulness with which Michael Dolan dealt with state legislators who were studying the lottery contracts. Some legislators on a state panel were angered late last year after learning that Dolan withheld from their vital information about whether the commission had picked a new vendor to manage the game of keno.
Dolan acknowledged during a court testimony that he decided not to share the information about the new keno vendor with the legislators, some of whom viewed it as important to their decision about the future of keno.
Representative Jay Hottinger, a Newark Republican who has heard Director Dolan testify as a member of the state Controlling Board said that it is unfortunate but he believe that Director Dolan had lost the confidence and trust of a number of Republican legislators.
Dolan said that he know that the members of the General Assembly had questioned his ability to move forward as the head of the agency, given the fact that they are now expanding gaming in a good way. Strickland said that the new slot machine lottery gaming expansion will bring in an estimated $933 million for the state budget over the next 2 years. Ohio is hoping to quickly implement the gaming expansion so that cash can begin flowing into the state coffers as soon as possible.
Gov. Strickland said that Michael Dolan successfully oversaw the lottery commission's transition to a new vendor that will save Ohio $20 million a year. Strickland added that aside from his performance at the lottery, he believes that Dolan is a person who exemplifies commitment to the state that they expect to those in public service.