The Senate confirmed Gov. Larry Hogan's choice to head the agency that oversees the Maryland Lottery and the state's casinos Monday night on a contested vote.
Senators voted 27-17 to approve the choice of Gordon Medenica as director of the State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency over the objections of Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the Senate's education and environment committee.
Medenica is a former head of the New York lottery agency who was recruited by the Hogan administration to head Maryland's gambling operations more than 21 months ago. His nomination ran into controversy over the award of a $262 million, eight-year contract to operate the lottery to Scientific Games. Conway accused Medenica of running a biased procurement process.
Supporters of Medenica's appointment have noted that it's a narrow industry with a fairly small number of experts.
"The seven-member evaluation committee received bids from the only three companies in the world that are qualified to fulfill the contract. This committee, which did not include Director Medenica, was required to select the bidder that represents the 'best value' to the state," the lottery said last week in a statement. "This does not mean simply accepting the lowest bid; it means selecting the vendor that will perform at the highest level for the state.
"It was made clear in all communications to potential bidders that technical factors outweigh price, as is the case in the majority of lottery procurements across the country."
The committee recommended Medenica's confirmation over Conway's objections. All of the votes against his nomination were cast by Democrats. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who voted for confirmation, said the objections to his nomination should have been raised earlier.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.