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Lawmaker Questions Lottery Privatization Plans

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. December 12, 2012

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Assembly budget committee chairman Vinnie Prieto (photo by Phil Gregory)

A New Jersey lawmaker believes the legislature should have the final say on whether any functions of the state lottery should be privatized.

The Christie Administration is seeking bids to have a private contractor take over the lottery’s sales and marketing. The current management and most lottery employees would remain in place.

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vinnie Prieto says privatization should be reserved for when the government can not perform a function well.

 “This has been efficient. It’s been profitable.   So I don’t see the need for it to go outside because normally when it gets privatized there’s going to be a markup. There’s a profit margin, that those investors are going to want to make.”

Treasury Department spokesman Andy Pratt expects a private contractor would help increase lottery revenue.

“They’d have a lot of financial incentives to make sure that they boosted sales. Those are built into the contract. There’s financial incentives and there’s severe penalties if you don’t meet revenue targets and goals.”

The deadline to submit bids is December 27th, and the contract to run the lottery’s sales and marketing is expected to be awarded early next year.

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