January 15

Maine State Lottery photo

Gerry Reid

Maine's liquor and lottery chief to resign

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Gerry Reid, the head of the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, is resigning his post.

Reid, a retired liquor executive, confirmed Tuesday evening that he was stepping down. He declined to say why he was leaving, adding that he would elaborate further on Wednesday when his resignation is expected to be made public.

“I’ll have more to say about it tomorrow,” he said. “It’s for a good reason.”

His resignation follows the recent 10-year deal between the state and Pine State Trading for the state’s liquor business. During his time with the LePage administration, Reid pitched new strategies to make the state more competitive with New Hampshire, a state he believed was undercutting Maine on prices.

The liquor contract and Reid’s strategy to increase sales are considered critical to the state’s repayment of a $220 million bond that Gov. Paul LePage and the Legislature approved last year. The bond was used to repay $183 million in backlogged Medicaid reimbursements the state owed Maine’s hospitals. Terms of the deal with Pine Street were undisclosed but the deal is expected to generate $450 million in revenue.

Reid became the liquor and lottery chief in February 2012 after coming out of retirement. Prior to that he oversaw product development for Jose Cuervo International, the tequila company.

Reid’s strategy for more liquor sales was coupled with new visions for the lottery system. The innovative approach hit a public relations snag in 2013 as the state rolled out a scratch ticket marketing campaign called “Kwikies.” Reid’s office said the name initially tested well among retailers and consumers, but the state quickly abandoned the campaign before its full implementation because the name, although spelled differently, is slang for brief sexual encounters.

Reid later apologized for signing off on the campaign, saying it was part of the state effort to constantly market scratch ticket games.

Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s spokeswoman, would not confirm Reid’s resignation Tuesday evening.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

Twitter: @stevemistler

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