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Who can turn the tide as Illinois Lottery private management contract decision nears?

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Oh how the plot thickens. With a week to go until the public hearing on the Illinois Lottery's private management contract bid process, it is becoming increasingly clear that Gov. Pat Quinn -- and only Quinn -- has the power to determine how this bid process plays out.

As reported in earlier postings, Intralot has tried -- so far without success -- to obtain information about how it was scored by the evaluation committee just prior to being abruptly dropped from contention for the Illinois Lottery private management contract in early August. Sources say Intralot could lodge a formal protest about the matter, but that could apparently only be done after Quinn presumably selects a private manager for the Lottery on Sept. 15.

Intralot is also in the process of comparing the final version of the private management agreement (PMA) with an earlier version that was first issued to potential bidders for the contract. The PMA sets out the terms under which a private manager would operate the Lottery. The final version of the PMA is said to be materially different than that much earlier version. The final version also is believed to include much less onerous terms than did the early version. That means the private management contract would be much more attractive -- and potentially lucrative -- to whichever bidder is awarded the contract.

Two groups -- Northstar Lottery Group and the Camelot Group -- remain in contention for the Lottery private management contract. Northstar principals include three groups that are major vendors to the Illinois Lottery: Gtech provides technology; Scientific Games provides the Lottery games and Energy BBDO/Chicago handles advertising. Camelot Group oversees the United Kingdom Lottery. The big question Quinn will have to confront when he makes a decision about the private management contract is whether it is wise for the Lottery to be managed by a consortium of entities that are already supplying key services to it.

As the Sept. 15 date draws nearer and the bidding process gains a higher profile in other media outlets, sources say Illinois gubernatorial candidate and Quinn opponent Bill Brady could be preparing to enter the fray and make a statement about the private management contract bid process. But Illinois Senate president John Cullerton, who helped mastermind the legislation that prompted bidding for a Lottery private management contract, is keeping his thoughts to himself, at least for now. "The Senate president is keeping track of what has taken place, but since this is an ongoing process, it would not be appropriate to comment," said a Cullerton spokesman Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Lottery has released an agenda for the public hearing on Sept. 8. Northstar and Camelot will each have an hour to present their respective plans for managing the Lottery. Some 90 minutes will then be given over to Q & A and comment.

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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 September 1, 2010 3:17 PM.

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