Just one bid for privatizing sales, marketing of N.J. Lottery

An effort to privatize the sales and marketing of the New Jersey Lottery has drawn just one bidder.

The joint venture making the bid consists of GTECH Corporation, Scientific Games International, and the largest pension fund in Canada.

But the lack of competition concerns Assemblyman Vinnie Prieto, D-Hudson, budget committee chairman.

“It sends kind of mixed signals to me because you would figure if it’s that attractive to somebody, you would have had multiple bidders,” he said.

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Having just one bud is not a problem, maintains Bill Quinn, a spokesman for the Treasury Department.

“The bid is going to be analyzed very carefully to determine whether it’s going to be in the best interests of the state to move forward with it,” Quinn said. “We’ll apply the same analysis and procedure to this bid as if we had multiple bids.”

But Rutgers University economics professor Joe Seneca shares Prieto’s concerns.

“It should be approached with great caution because you would want to have, I would think, significant competition to ensure the state was getting a highest bid for it,” Seneca said.

Quinn says it could take three months to decide whether New Jersey will award a contract to the solitary bidder.

In Pennsylvania, a move to privatize aspects of that state’s lottery also has resulted in a single bid for the contract.

The Senate Finance Committee hast set a Jan. 14 hearing on Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposal to hire a private company to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery on a 20- to 30-year contract.

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