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Penn. Lottery gets advice from Illinois on privatization

Aug 9, 2012, 7:42 am

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Pennsylvania Lottery

State trying to decide if privately operating the lottery is right approach

Pennsylvania is currently looking into privatizing its lottery, but one official with the Illinois lottery, the only private system in the nation, is warning the commonwealth to carefully plan how it would choose a company to manage day-to-day operations.

Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones says in the Land of Lincoln, potential overseers had to estimate how much money they'd be able to bring into the lottery. A company would be fined if it was selected and revenue didn't meet its expectations. Jones says Pennsylvania should find a better way to appeal to competing businesses. "At least, in Illinois, I think the emphasis on that complicated a system of evaluation is one of the reasons the competition was so limited to only two companies," he says.

Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser says the state's already heard from companies interested in running the lottery, which pays for programs benefitting older Pennsylvanians. He says commonwealth officials are debating whether or not to take the next step. "Once we do our due diligence, we will then determine whether or not to move on to the next phase, which would be an invitation for bids," he says.

Meuser says if the state decides to forge ahead with the privatization process, it could solicit proposals from interested companies this fall.

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