It definitely ain't over. A Camelot Group spokesman confirmed to us this morning that it indeed filed a formal protest on Wednesday with the Illinois Department of Revenue regarding the process of selecting a private manager of the Illinois Lottery and Gov. Pat Quinn's selection of Northstar Lottery as the new private manager.
In a statement issued after the protest was filed, Camelot CEO Dianne Thompson said: "Camelot believes that the Department of Revenue's process for selecting the private manager breached the Lottery Law passed last year by the General Assembly, as well as competitive bid procedures. With our protest, we hope the State will recognize that a competitive bid process was not honored here and that only a truly competitive process can maximize the Lottery's long term value for the State of Illinois. We request that the State stay the selection of Northstar Lottery as private manager and reopen the bidding process and this time administer a bid process that is truly equitable and transparent."
Camelot's protest letter apparently goes into detail about several breaches it alleges occurred during the private management bid process, including the failure of the bidding process to create a competitive environment, the process being unevenly skewed toward the existing vendors of the lottery (including Gtech, Scientific Games and Energy BBDO/Chicago which comprise Northstar) and unequal access to information by bidders.
Meanwhile, within a matter of hours after delivery of Camelot's protest letter to the Illinois Department of Revenue, we're told copies of that letter, which is believed to run upwards of 25 pages, had somehow already made their way into the hands of Gtech executives at a national lottery convention now underway. And from Gtech, we're also advised, copies of the protest letter may inadvertently have made their way into the hands of others at the convention.
We're told the protests now formally filed by both losing bidders, Intralot and Camelot, will initially be reviewed by George Logan, an attorney in the Department of Revenue. If one or both of the protesting parties are not satisfied with action taken by him, they can request an additional judicial review by the Illinois state courts.
From what we've gleaned from both the Intralot and Camelot protests, both groups are serious about the issues they've raised in their respective protests regarding the private management bid process. Don't expect them to back off until they're fully satisfied they've gotten a serious and fair hearing.
Yes, it ain't over til it's over.