Chip Polston

Candidate for Affiliates Seat 2017-2020

What is your interest in serving on the Board? What skills can you bring to the Board?

Responsible gambling issues are personally very important to me. During my early tenure in the lottery industry, I traveled to numerous public events where on occasion I would encounter someone who obviously was suffering. I would freeze – I didn’t know what to do. When I moved to my current position and could work on responsible gambling issues here in Kentucky, I’d seen the problem firsthand and wanted to do everything I could to help. I’ve coordinated the Kentucky Lottery’s responsible gambling program for 14 years, and have worked to help other lotteries establish their own programs and seek certification of their efforts. Over the past four years I’ve been fortunate to help facilitate new programming between the NCPG and the lottery industry to provide training materials to lottery employees and retailers across North America, and I wrote the framework for the first lottery responsible gambling verification program in the US through NASPL (the North American lottery trade organization) and NCPG. I feel my background in communications and public relations would continue to be of benefit to the board. I’ve really enjoyed my nearly five years on the Affiliates Committee, and would be proud to again represent the group.

What is your vision for NCPG, and what goals do you have for the organization?

I’d like to continue to work to provide opportunities for affiliates at the state level. When I authored the NASPL/NCPG responsible gambling program, there was very specific language in the framework that said lotteries would be judged in part on their relationship with their state NCPG affiliate. This had yielded positive results in several jurisdictions, with organizations reaching out to affiliates to partner on everything from awareness to employee education. These were relationships that had not yet been forged prior to the verification program, and I’m proud of the opportunities we’ve created. I’m also proud of working to create different tiers of participation in the annual NCPG National Awards, so that affiliates no longer must compete against corporations with huge marketing budgets. This will provide more recognition to affiliates for their outstanding efforts. In addition to this, I’d also like to see us continue to build on the Affiliates Development Day at the national conference where we can provide specialized training in affiliate-specific areas, giving practical applications that can be put in place once participants return home.

What relevant leadership and/or committee roles have you held in NCPG, state Affiliate or related organizations?

I’ve been a member of the KY Council on Problem Gambling since my first day on the job some 14 years ago. For the past 8 years I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a board officer in Kentucky, and in 2012 I had the honor of receiving the Council’s highest honor, the Jim Cooke Leadership Award. I’ve been able to serve as an NCPG Board member for the past three years, and was a long-time member of the communications committee and have chaired the awards committee for the past four years. From an industry perspective, I’ve been a member of the NASPL responsible gaming committee for 11 years, and for the past five years on the World Lottery Association’s (WLA’s) responsible gaming workgroup, a six-member panel that addresses responsible gambling practices for the global community.

What ideas and experience do you have that can help NCPG grow its membership and fundraising?

Partnerships that provide opportunities for affiliates are key to our growth, at both the state and national level. Through the work I was able to spearhead with the NCPG/NASPL responsible gambling verification program, we created situations where state lotteries were actively seeking our state affiliates for partnerships. I’m proud of what we accomplished there, but want to continue this trend by helping position affiliates as resources on a variety of fronts. For example, I’ve been able to position the Kentucky Lottery as an effective partner with the Kentucky Council on a wide variety of initiatives, everything from employee training to hotline awareness to the underwriting of testing fees so that counselors can now receive their ICGC training and testing at no charge. I want to grow these partnerships, as they provide solid additions to our membership and a stream of revenue to state affiliates.

Do you have any personal or professional conflicts that would prevent you from engaging fully in advocacy or fundraising? If so, please describe them.

I do have a minor restriction through my job of not being able to directly lobby federal officials, but there’s a chance this restriction will soon be lifted. Otherwise, I feel very confident in my ability to fully engage in all advocacy and fundraising aspects of this board position, as I feel I have proven myself over the last three years.

How long have you been a member of NCPG and what led you to join initially?

As a member of the KY Council on day one of my job, I have been an NCPG member since I began in my current positon 14 years ago. At the urging of my mentor Don Feeney, I became active with the National Council around six years ago. My first project was to promote participation in the NCPG-McGill University lottery holiday campaign as a member of the communications committee, working to obtain endorsements from both NASPL and the World Lottery Association for the program.  I then went on to chair the awards committee (where I am now), actively looking for new areas where affiliates could be recognized. I wanted to work more closely with NCPG as I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with other members from across the US, learning what was working in their area and what I could bring home to try in Kentucky. I’ve subsequently enjoyed the opportunity to work at the board level to help promote the conversation about gambling disorders at the national level, and would like to continue those efforts.

Biographical Statement

I hold bachelor’s degrees in broadcasting and political science, and a master’s in education. Currently I serve as the Affiliate Representative for the Kentucky Council and on the NCPG board.  I also currently serve as chair of the NCPG’s awards committee, and previously served on the NCPG’s communications committee.

I first joined the Kentucky Lottery as a host of the nightly drawing show 21 years ago, and assumed my current position as senior vice president of communications, PR and social responsibility 14 years ago. For all 14 of those years I’ve been a board member of the KYCPG, serving as an officer for 11 of them. From an industry perspective, I’ve been a member of the NASPL responsible gaming committee for 11 years, and I sit on the World Lottery Association’s (WLA’s) responsible gaming workgroup, a six-member panel that addresses responsible gambling practices for the global community. I was also fortunate to lead the effort for Kentucky to become the first state in the U.S. to receive both levels 2 and 3 of the WLA’s Responsible Gaming Framework Accreditation, one of the first to receive the Internet Compliance Assessment Program (iCAP) certification from NCPG, and one of the first to receive the NASPL/NCPG RG verification.

At home, I serve as board president of the KY YMCA Youth Association, the home of Kentucky’s Youth and Government programs. The group provides nearly 20,000 middle school, high school, and college students annually across the Commonwealth with opportunities for service learning, civic engagement, and personal development.

Nominated by: Marlene Warner, Executive Director, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling; Interim Executive Director, Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling; Vice President, NCPG Board of Directors