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Barbara Miller

Deputy Director, Delaware Lottery

March 21, 2024

NASPL Insights Online

There’s something about lotteries that appeals to their employees. Newcomers are often attracted by the idea that it’s a fun industry, and younger staffers especially love doing good things for the community. And at a time when many American lotteries have been around for decades, it’s not unusual to see employees who have advanced through their lottery career over those same decades, sticking with the industry they’ve grown to love. Just look at Barbara Miller. She’s a 28-year veteran of the Delaware Lottery, now serving as Deputy Director. She learned the business from the ground up, and wouldn’t have it any other way.


“She is well-respected by our staff, as well as by our many business partners. Her poise and calm demeanor are remarkable; she is unruffled in any circumstance.”

“Barb’s vast business knowledge combined with her diverse background make her an invaluable asset to the Delaware Lottery,” says Director Helene Keeley. “She is well-respected by our staff, as well as by our many business partners. Her poise and calm demeanor are remarkable; she is unruffled in any circumstance. In the six years I have worked with Barb, I have watched in awe as she beautifully manages that elusive work/life balance. She’s a networking genius and a leadership rock star. She is my confidante, my sounding board, and not just my Deputy, but a true partner in our endeavor to make the Delaware Lottery the absolute best it can be. Barb is the complete package and we are very aware of how fortunate we are to have her.”



Miller joined the Delaware Lottery in 1996 as a Lottery Sales Representative, giving up a management position with newspaper publishing company. “I really took a step backwards, but I was attracted to the benefits and more stable hours, because I had small kids.” She thrived in the new environment, and was quickly promoted to Marketing, Sales and Retailer Development Manager. From there, she advanced to Assistant Director, Marketing and Sales, and assumed her current role in 2022. She even served for a few months as Acting Assistant Director of Traditional Lottery.

She certainly picked a lottery where there’s a lot going on despite its small size. Its three racetrack partners launched video lottery in 1995, sports betting (football parlay bets) in 2009 and table games in 2010. Sports betting was expanded to retail locations in 2012, keno began in 2013; online gaming (iGaming) through the casinos also began in 2013. And in 2018, Delaware was the first lottery to offer full-scale sports betting after the longstanding Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was deemed unconstitutional. Just recently, mobile sports betting was added to the mix. “We have a great team here and the staff and leaders of each product group all do an amazing job at managing their products and marketing effectively.”


As Deputy Director, Miller provides leadership across those product groups. With her background, she keeps a particularly close eye on their marketing programs, although the casinos handle the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing the products they offer. Social media is one area where the Lottery’s resources are often shared across product lines, and she sees potential for even more cross-marketing efforts in this area.



New challenges always present themselves, and the Delaware Lottery is working through improving its responsible gambling programs. As one step forward, Miller recently spearheaded the Lottery’s application for the NASPL-NCPG Responsible Gambling Verification Program.


What little spare time she has is spent with her family whenever possible, with three adult daughters and three grandchildren, with one more on the way. Daughter LaRue and her two children live in Tennessee, while the others live closer, Latrice in Virginia and Cathy in Delaware. When not spending time with them, Miller enjoys going to the gym and gardening.


She also loves tackling remodeling projects around the house, and she has perhaps an insider’s look at all the improvements she can make. She’s a licensed real estate agent, although in her current role as the Lottery’s Deputy Director, that has gone on the back burner for a while. “Real estate can be demanding if you let it, even if you are a part-time agent.” She got into that business from a desire to help people. “I had a realtor representing me when I sold my first house, and she wasn’t honest with me. I sold my next house on my own, and then decided to get my license so I could help other people by being honest with them. It has been very, very rewarding.”


A Delaware native, Miller has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Delaware State University, Dover, and holds two Master of Science degrees from Wilmington College (now Wilmington University; one in human resources and one in public administration).



You’ve been at the Delaware Lottery for nearly 30 years. What developments have been most impactful for Delaware over the decades?

Over the long run, certainly the explosion of instant games has really changed things for us (and the industry), and of course the introduction of video lottery and, more recently, sports betting. Delaware has really expanded the gambling products offered in the state; we oversee much of it but not fantasy sports or horse racing. Outside of product-specific impacts, the pandemic completely changed the way we operate. Being a state agency, we probably never could have entertained telecommuting before COVID, and now most eligible employees have an opportunity to request a schedule where they can work from home a couple of days a week.


What are Delaware’s unique retail and marketing challenges as a small state in the highly-congested mid-Atlantic region?

The biggest challenges are the competition that comes from being surrounded by bigger states, and our small size that puts us at a disadvantage when it comes to winning any jackpots in the multi-state games. Our state also has an anonymity law, so we can’t even disclose our winners. We do what we can when it comes to winner awareness – we keep up our marketing efforts, especially in stores where there are bigger winners.

When it comes to scratch tickets, we have found that certain types of games don’t work for us, like casino-themed games. We do have success with our core and niche games; core games like Crossword, Bingo and Jumbo Bucks do very well, and some of our best niche games include certain families and licensed properties. Our first launch of a $25 game sold out so quickly that we had to reorder. One thing we do pride ourselves on is being willing to try new games. Because we are small, there’s not a big investment in trying a new theme or concept – and the vendors know that! We’ve been known to go out on a limb, and sometimes we even find a great new game!


On the retail front, we generally have the same mix of retailers that are successful across the industry: Convenience stores and liquor stores, plus bars and taverns. There are some surprises as well. We have a barbershop in one of our most urban areas that has been with us since the beginning. That little shop does a phenomenal lottery business!



What recent marketing initiative stands out to you?

Again, we’ve had limitations as a small state, and one thing we couldn’t do until recently was launch any kind of a player loyalty program. There just weren’t any cost-effective options. In 2019, we introduced our first loyalty program, Collect ‘N Win. We had our advertising agency handle the contract with Alchemy3, and that provided us with an affordable option. It allowed us to be creative with promotions and offer modest cash prizes through monthly drawings, and we used this program successfully for four years. Just recently, we signed a new contract with our primary partner Scientific Games, and included in that is a much more robust loyalty program, launched as Players Club. Now we can offer incentives on all instant tickets along with a wide variety of premium merchandise, cash prizes and experiences for players that change every month. We are doing great things with it already.


From your perspective, is there anything you wish the Delaware Lottery could do differently? How about the lottery industry as a whole?

Actually, I think we have gotten a lot of things right at the Delaware Lottery. We have often been at the cutting edge, being among the first with things like launching new products and moving from live televised drawings to animated drawings. After all, our state nickname is the First State! But for us to keep up that success, we need to continue to innovate our marketing strategies and technology. Our new contract allows us to expand the use of self-service kiosks; we had only made slow progress before. We are also getting new lottery terminals for our retailers, which are faster and will allow all of our retailers to accept debit cards for lottery purchases. That’s an area all lotteries need to address if they aren’t already doing so (and if they are allowed to by law), because it’s important to recognize changing purchasing habits. We are really excited about their potential. We’ve also looked at the various inlane projects across the industry, particularly the gift card route. That’s something we would like to embark upon in the future, along with iLottery.


One of the biggest challenges a mature lottery faces is that we are inevitably losing valuable long-term employees as they retire. That knowledge kind of goes out the door with them, and is especially felt in a small lottery like ours. We weren’t really prepared for that, and now we’re trying to make sure that knowledge base is preserved. Other lotteries should ensure they are taking steps as well.


What have you enjoyed the most in your tenure at the Delaware Lottery? The least?

The best thing is that I started at a time when the industry was young, so I’ve been part of its growth to where we are today. Even though I no longer work directly with retailers as much as I did early on, I still have great working relationships with them – and of course with all our staff members and vendor partners as well.


I suppose the least enjoyable aspect revolves around the challenges we face from being a small state. We provide a great deal of revenue for Delaware, yet we operate under a governmental structure that places limitations on what we do and how we do it. That can get frustrating, as every lottery knows.


What has been the most fun?

Making winners! Seeing the joy in their faces, hearing their stories about what they will do with their winnings. Yet it goes well beyond that. There’s adrenaline just engaging with players and watching them play our games. They are having fun! I still try to get out and engage with players at some of our public events, because that is really special. I really enjoy going to the state fair whenever I can.


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