Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Lottery Deal to Net Extra $500M in 5 Years ; R. I. Firm to Steer Sales, Marketing

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Lottery Deal to Net Extra $500M in 5 Years ; R. I. Firm to Steer Sales, Marketing

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Hoosier Lottery leaders are privatizing some of functions of the state gaming operation by agreeing to a 15-year deal with Rhode Island-based GTECH in hopes it can lure more people to play lottery games. Karl Browning, the lottery's executive director, told members of the commission that oversees the lottery Wednesday that the firm's bid would net Indiana an extra $500 million over the next five years.

He said GTECH's bid indicates it could bring in $1.76 billion over that five-year period - an increase over the $1.2 billion the state projects it would make without making changes.

"That's a $500 million benefit to taxpayers," he said, adding the extra profit is projected to be $2.1 billion over the full life of the deal. The commission approved the deal on a 3-0 vote.

The company will take over sales, marketing and distribution.

The state will retain the finance and legal functions involved in overseeing the lottery.

Browning said GTECH's business plan involves attracting new gamblers and expanding the state's network of lottery retailers, as well as revamping the lottery's "Instant Ticket" offerings and draw games.

"We did a survey, and only 35 percent of Hoosiers think of the lottery brand as 'for people like me,'" Browning said. Growing that number would help bring in extra profit, he said.

The firm also is proposing changes to the lottery's spending on advertising and the operations of its sales staff to attract new business.

"In eight years, this may be the easiest and most obvious decision the state has had to make. Our lottery revenues lag far behind most states. With this contract, the only question is how much more money Indiana will receive than under the current system," Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a statement.

"It's no longer my job to suggest how these additional state funds should be used, but it is my job to leave Indiana in the strongest possible financial shape, and this step will make the nation's most solid state fiscal position that much stronger. …

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