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Insider Takes: State Lottery CIO on Modernization, Budget Process

The IT leader at this unique state entity talked to Industry Insider — California about ongoing technology work, enterprise-level topics that are likely central for many technology executives, and the budgetary process.

A photo showing a CA Lottery winner's check that says "Lucky Winner!" in the "pay to" line and "Winning Amount" in the amount line.
The chief information officer at the California State Lottery, which is governed by the California State Lottery Commission, talked about its ongoing modernization recently with Industry Insider — California, offering details on potential procurements and on how it differs from other state entities.

Jennifer Chan is the Lottery’s chief information officer, a position she has held just more than two years, since January 2021. A longtime state executive, she was previously special projects administrator at the Employment Development Department; and before that, she was agency chief information officer at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for nearly two years. Chan’s public-sector career dates to 2010, when she joined the California State Board of Equalization as a project management analyst.

Chan has a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in psychology from the University of California, Davis; and a Master of Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.
In a video interview with Industry Insider at the recent California Public Sector CIO Academy*, Chan said the Lottery is “continuing to focus on innovation” this year.

“When I took over (as CIO) at the Lottery, there was a lot of legacy technology, so we’re working on addressing that and ... modernizing, doing a lot more migrating to the cloud,” Chan said in the Feb. 15 interview.

The Lottery recently wrapped a rollout of instant ticket vending machines (ITVMs) that included examples of the GameTouch 28 machine. Officials also hope to make an award on a project to update the Lottery’s public-facing website, and a game change is on the horizon for Mega Millions. They’re also looking closely at network resiliency, data strategy and data governance.

Unlike many other state departments, agencies, boards, commissions and the like, the California State Lottery itself is not part of the state budget. However, the California State Lottery Commission, which governs it, is part of the state budget. The California State Lottery, Chan said, has a similar budget cycle to that of the state — which per the California Constitution, gives lawmakers until June 15 to pass a budget. The Lottery, Chan said, must have “conceptual approval” for its budget during May, and “full approval” in June. Officials can approach the Commission during its meetings throughout the year for other budget needs, she said.

“That gives us more flexibility and adaptability, as we have ever-changing needs for different procurements,” Chan said. “It allows us that flexibility if we have innovation or emergency needs.”

In August 2021, Chan took part in Industry Insider’s One-on-One interview series; find that conversation here.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.