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Transparency fades in Illinois Lottery private management bid process

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For a bid process to select a private manager for the Illinois Lottery that is supposed to be completely transparent, the state is doing a remarkably good job of making it seem anything but. At this juncture in the process, spokespersons for both the Lottery and Gov. Pat Quinn have stopped talking, a sure sign that this is a process about which they have no interest in encouraging dissemination of information. Or transparency.

In any event, we learned today that a final (or near final) version of the private management agreement (PMA) has just been released to interested bidders. That document sets out guidelines under which the new Lottery manager must operate. Sources who have seen the significantly-revised document told us it differs in many ways from a version of the document that was circulating prior to the July 30 deadline for submitting bids for the Lottery private management contract.

On another front, we are told that Intralot, a bidder who was believed to have been dropped from contention on Monday, asked the Lottery for information on how the group and its bid were scored during the evaluation process last week. Not surprisingly, per sources, the Lottery was not forthcoming with information about the scoring. Now Intralot is said to be using the Freedom of Information Act to try and pry the information from state officials. But Intralot executives are said to be somewhat pessimistic about their chances of success.

Meanwhile, all eyes remain focused on Camelot Group, which is believed to be one of only two contenders left in the running for the Illinois Lottery private management contract. Lottery executives did an about-face earlier this week and decided they would not make public the names of finalists for the management contract until at least Aug. 30. The names of bidders were to have been revealed on Aug. 12.

The other contender is believed to be the recently-formed Northstar Lottery Group, comprised of several entities that are already Illinois Lottery vendors, including Gtech, Scientific Games and ad agency Energy BBDO/Chicago. Should Camelot decide to drop out because of what it sees in the revised PMA (which is said to include a $100 million bond stipulation among other goodies), the entire bid process could be upended.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on August 13, 2010 4:00 PM.

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