* The gaming stuff is old news, and we talked a little about the Lottery stuff yesterday, but let’s flesh it out…
A new private company or perhaps a new governmental agency could run the Illinois Lottery, and Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thursday he would be open to talk about expanding casino gambling.
Rauner, who long has complained about the revenue the state lottery has generated under a deal his Democratic predecessor, Pat Quinn, brokered in 2010, announced Thursday that the state was formally requesting bidders to take over the lottery program. […]
Rauner said the state would move within a few months to hire a new firm to run the lottery, and that the state was looking for a contractor that can boost revenue by expanding the lottery’s online presence and better market games.
Rauner noted there are few companies that specialize in running state lotteries, and said his administration was willing to look at companies that don’t specialize in running games. If private companies don’t come up with proposals that win over the governor, he said he would go to the Legislature to create a quasi-government agency to oversee
Northstar got the 10-year deal because it made the biggest promises of profits for the state. The firm then never met those original profit targets. It blamed the state for supposedly doing things that hurt its ability to make its profit numbers, while the state fought to penalize Northstar for failing to meet the targets.
In an effort to oust Northstar, the Quinn administration cut a deal with Northstar for it to leave, and Rauner’s administration renegotiated the deal. […]
In the meantime, the Rauner administration said it was studying what metrics mattered for state lotteries to better structure the deal the second time. It unveiled those basics Thursday, which include allowing smaller firms to compete for the management job while prohibiting vendors who do the grunt work from also bidding on the management job.
Rauner said he also wants the new manager to better push internet sales. Illinois was a U.S. pioneer in introducing online lottery ticket sales, but it has struggled to capitalize on it. He said he hopes a deal can be reached with a firm in the next six months.
Rauner said it would take around six months to hire a new manager following the process set in state law. But he said if a suitable replacement can’t be found through bids, he’d consider trying to change the management model. The Republican floated the potential of a “public benefit corporation” similar to how some states, including Georgia and Tennessee, run lotteries.
Any changes would require approval from the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
Rauner’s general counsel Jason Barclay described the potential for a corporation set up within state government that wouldn’t be subject to all state requirements, like procurement rules. He said the ideas “intrigued” the governor, though no details had been decided. In 2003, Tennessee created a quasi-government entity to run games and generate money for schools.
Private manager, quasi-government entity, I don’t really care as long as it’s managed well.