Friday the governor’s office announced that an agreement to end Northstar Lottery Group’s contract with the state of Illinois had been reached.
Jason Barclay, counsel to Governor Bruce Rauner, has disclosed that a new private manager will be assuming the Lottery’s daily operations by January 1, 2017. Termination of the company that manages the state’s Lottery comes on the heels of a legislative report earlier this month revealing a $125 million decrease in monies generated for state programming. The substantial hit to statewide program funding makes 2014 the first time the Lottery has lost money since 2009.
The pact agreement will be an instant $22 million savings for Illinois taxpayers, money that would have been paid to Northstar in an exit deal negotiated last year by former Governor Quinn’s administration. The exit deal shot down by Attorney General Lisa Madigan would have given GTech and Scientific Games, Northstar’s parent companies forced exclusivity as suppliers, whereas the new agreement affords the private manager a choice in its supplier selection. The Lottery’s interim director B.R. Lane said, “This is a new day for the Illinois Lottery,” and, “This agreement will save the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars while allowing the Lottery to select a new partner that will help the agency grow and better serve its customers,” according to an AP report.
The relationship between the state and Northstar has been a tumultuous one since it was hired in 2010 to increase sales and profits. According to the legislative report, Northstar missed profit targets and failed to deliver on its promise to expand lottery retail outlets in the state, and that “The future of the lottery is expected to be turbulent in the coming months.”
A lawsuit filed by Lottery winners that have yet to be paid in excess of $25,000 due to a budget crisis in the state is asking that lottery tickets not be sold until the winners are paid what they are owed.