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Delaware Lottery gets acting director after Vernon Kirk retires

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The Delaware Lottery taps an acting director.

Longtime lottery director Vernon Kirk retired at the end of July after 11 years.

The Lottery’s deputy director - Helene Keeley - is stepping in to fill his shoes.

She says she had mixed feelings about taking over,
“Well it was a little bit of a bitter sweet moment for me. Vern has been the director since 2011 and has been an employee since the lottery started in 1975, so there’s a long history of Vernon Kirk at the Delaware Lottery.”

As deputy director, Keeley had overseen finance, IT and other security support services for the Lottery.

Keeley also made sure Delaware Lottery players’ had safe access to gaming during the COVID pandemic. She also guided efforts to ensure 24/7 technical support for Lottery operations and enhanced the Lottery’s partnership with the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems.

Now she plans to stay true to the Delaware Lottery’s mission,.

"Which is to make sure we do our best to bring as much money to the General Fund as possible, she said. "I think that’s the number one priority. And also making sure that gaming is still fun in the State as well.” 

Keeley adds that there are still looming questions about online betting,

"That’s something that we will have to tackle in the coming years," Keeley said. I think we have to look at it and make sure it is fundamentally and financially sound for our partners - which are the casinos. In Delaware we’re a little different than other states - they (the casinos) are our partners, unlike in Pennsylvania, where they’re competitors.”

Delaware residents currently need to travel to Pennsylvania or New Jersey to legally bet on sports online. Online sports betting is legal in the First State, but so far it has been deemed too expensive to launch.

Keeley adds that she fully expects to be named the new Delaware Lottery director in the coming weeks.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.