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N.C. lottey commission to announce vendor choice

Jan 24, 2006, 10:21 am

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North Carolina Lottery

A controversial decision is due next week from North Carolina's lottery commission.

The state will choose which company provides the actual games like scratch-off tickets.

But one company may be in trouble with the law. The lottery commission has faced questions about gaming company Scientific Games for months.

"I think the question is do they want to bid? And second, if they do bid are they able to handle a lottery this big? I don't know the answer to this but we're open to all bidders," Dr. Charles Sanders of the North Carolina Lottery Commission explained.

It was a tough thought before and now commissioners face the question head on with just two companies to choose from.

David McLennan, a Peace College political expert said, "If that company is chose, although it might be the best provider of services and cost for the state, it's going to raise questions from the public."

Records show it wrote portions of the lottery law, hired a former lottery commissioner for consulting work and hired a former top aide of State House Speaker Jim Black, who may have also lobbied illegally.

Because of that, the company could face misdemeanor charges.

Sanders said no company will provide games that has been committed of a crime.

McLennan said, "If [Sanders] lives up to his word if this were to happen he would have to choose another company, GTECH, or another company."

"I think it's distracting," Bob Farris of the commission said. "I think all of that is distracting, but you can't worry about the past you have to move forward with it the best we can."

But political experts believe the recent problems could actually make Scientific Games a good choice too.

"Because of the scrutiny, they may be under they're practices are going to be above board, pay attention to detail and there may be no problems because of that."

The state will announce the two seven-year contracts worth millions of dollars next week.

The state must also choose an advertising company to help the state promote the lottery and help raise revenue.

Bids to get that contract are due a week from Friday.

Under state law, advertising can't exceed one-percent of the lottery's total revenues.

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