Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hoosier Lottery Privatization Cover Up?

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly sought answers about why Hoosier Lottery officials chose GTECH over gaming rival Scientific Games to manage the state's lottery for the next 15 years, effectively handing day-to-day control of the important state revenue generator to the Italian-owned company. What she got instead was an opportunity to review documents that were so heavily redacted that they were unreadable. More importantly, Lottery officials have so far refused to make public the agreement it said that it had signed with the company last Friday. The Daniels administration is already under fire by Scientific Games for conducting an unfair bidding process that resulted in GTECH's award despite a neglible difference in their bottom line offers and without consideration of transition costs since Scientific Games is an incumbent vendor for much of the lottery's operations. From the Journal-Gazette:
Hoosier Lottery officials made public the two bids to take over key operations of the system.
But the nearly 1,700 pages of documents are so heavily redacted that Hoosiers still have no idea how the new manager plans to hit lofty revenue targets. The bids also weren’t placed online for citizens to read. They are only available in a downtown Indianapolis conference room.
And despite finalizing the 15-year contract with GTECH Indiana LLC on Friday – and sending out a news release about it – the lottery has yet to release that agreement . . .
Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday he would be willing to talk with lottery officials about whether GTECH and competitor Scientific Games went too far in their redaction of so-called “trade secrets.”
“I’m in favor of folks knowing all they can,” he said. “The more information folks have, the more obvious it will be that this was just a smart management move.” . . .
That business plan was a large part of the bid, and lottery officials said earlier this month that it included expanding the customer base by selling tickets at big box retail stores.
But those plans and more have been redacted from the documents available for public review, including how the games themselves would be improved and marketed.
Some of the pages that were left untouched included statistics comparing the Hoosier Lottery with other states and various biographies of GTECH employees.
Also, the bid promised to name Fort Wayne community leader Ian Rolland to its advisory board, along with Ball State President Jo Ann Gora and former professional basketball player George McGinnis.
State House insiders could have predicted in advance that GTECH would be awarded the lucrative contract by hook or crook simply by virtue of the fact that the company was represented by Barnes & Thornburg's Bob Grand and Brian Burdick. The two were at the center of the corrupt awarding of the costly and flawed privatization of FSSA's welfare services for the benefit of ACS, a company they represented which formerly employed then-FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob, a close political confidante of Daniels and Grand. Burdick's sister, Betsy, is a also a deputy chief of staff in Daniels' office.

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