So the long slog to decision day on Sept 15 continues. That is when Gov. Pat Quinn will decide which bidder becomes the private manager of the Illinois Lottery. That's still the game plan as of now.
As reported earlier, the flow of information from the both the Illinois Lottery and Quinn's office has ground to a halt in recent days. If one is looking for information about the bid process, it has to come from sources other than the mouths of the principal horses running this increasingly non-transparent bid process and their representatives.
Sources have told us no one connected to any entity bidding for the management contract can even mention that connection or anything about the bid process to anyone working for the Illinois Lottery, as if this somehow helps keep the process untainted.
But experts who have had time to study the private management agreement (PMA) released last Friday worry it could represent a real problem for the state and the people of Illinois who foot the bills and benefit from the revenue the Lottery generates. The PMA spells out out the ground rules and goals for the new Illinois Lottery management entity.
As one source who has carefully read through the PMA put it: "If left unchallenged, this will be by far the most lucrative lottery contract in modern lottery history. The state of Illinois is getting ready to be taken for a ride not seen since the Pentagon paid $100.00 for an ashtray."
Words like "cartel" are also being bandied about now. Some observers remain convinced the Northstar Lottery Group, one of two bidders believed to be left in the running for the private management contract, is destined to become both the Illinois Lottery management firm and a principal supplier of goods and services. Gtech and Scientific Games, two of the partners in Northstar, already supply technology and games to the Illinois Lottery.
Is Gov. Quinn worried about what his minions at the Illinois Lottery are cooking up for him to review before he makes his decision about an Illinois Lottery manager on Sept. 15? Hard to say, as the governor's spokeswoman dealing with all matters related to the Lottery isn't talking much herself.
Meanwhile, to no one's surprise at Intralot, dumped from the competition more than a week ago, there has been no response yet to its Freedom of Information Act request. Intralot wants information about how the group was scored during the recent evaluation committee hearings that helped determine which bidders would move forward in the private management bid process. The deadline for a response to Intralot's request is believed to be Wednesday.