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State set to award Lottery management to foreign-owned companies

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SPRINGFIELD — State officials have set a meeting for Sept. 8 to discuss Illinois’ groundbreaking foray into allowing a private company to manage the state lottery.

On Monday, as expected, the Illinois Department of Revenue named two foreign-owned firms as finalists for what could be a pact earlier described by one state official as the largest in state history.

The companies are the Camelot Group, a Canadian-owned firm that operates the national lottery in the United Kingdom, and a consortium of companies called Northstar Lottery Group.

Northstar is composed of Gtech Corp., Scientific Games Corp. and Energy BBDO, each of which already has a stake in operating the Illinois lottery. Gtech is a subsidiary of Italian lottery operator Lottomatica.

“The purpose of this public hearing is to provide an opportunity for the two finalists to present and explain their proposals for the private management of the lottery, and allow the public to comment on the presented proposals,” noted a release issued by the Illinois Department of Revenue on Monday.

The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Sept. 8 in Chicago.

Revenue officials will recommend one of the companies to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is expected to decide on a winner by mid-September.

The company will manage the lottery, while the state will retain control over contracts. The agreement could be in place for 10 years and would mark the first time a state has allowed a private firm to manage its system.

The lottery has annual sales of more than $2 billion and ranks as a top revenue source for the cash-strapped state.

In addition to operating the lottery in the U.K., Camelot also is a consultant to the California lottery.

Gtech has lottery holdings in numerous states. It was purchased in 2006 by Lottomatica for $4.7 billion.

kurt.erickson@lee.net|789-0865

 

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