NJ Lottery Privatization Questioned

Review saught by a handful of congressmen

Thursday, Apr 18, 2013  |  Updated 9:11 AM EDT
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NJ Lottery Privatization Questioned

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Six Democratic congressmen have asked the U.S. attorney general to review the contract that would place the New Jersey Lottery in private hands.

The lawmakers want to know if a $120 million payment violates a 2008 Justice Department opinion which said a state should not receive any upfront payments to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption.

The state Treasury Department last week announced it intended to award a 15-year sales and marketing contract to a joint venture to run the nation's eighth largest state lottery.

Northstar New Jersey Lottery Group agreed to pay $120 million upon signing.

The Treasury Department told The Record newspaper in a statement that the state attorney general's office and outside legal specialists reviewed the deal. The department believes it is valid.

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New Jersey isn't the only state looking to privatize its lottery. Pennsylvania is looking to take its $3.5 billion lottery private.

That bid is on hold, though, as the state reviews how British-based Camelot plans to expand the Commonwealth's lottery.

Indiana and Illinois have also awarded contracts to private lottery managers.

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