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To the Editor: Outrageous to hire private management to expand the Lottery and fleece residents

September 29, 2010

Our Illinois Pay to Play government has set the stage for the Lottery to create more losers. At the public hearing for selection of private management of the Lottery, I learned that targeted marketing would likely be directed to 18 to 34-year-olds and could include phone apps, loyalty cards, self-service at big-box stores, and the Internet to increase Lottery sales.

According to a 2009 study by the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, the risk of problem gambling among people who gamble on the Internet is 37.9 percent compared to 7.7 percent for non-Internet gamblers. A recent study by the Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders shows that more than 70 percent of Americans between the ages of 14 and 19 are estimated to have gambled online in the past year.

Legislation for the private management and Internet Lottery was worked out behind closed doors and quickly moved for passage. The process to select the private management, likewise, appears to be conducted quickly and secretly. The governor [was] to select the company Sept. 15—one week after the only public hearing on the matter. How much will this 10-year “sweetheart deal” cost taxpayers? The law allows compensation and a performance-based bonus up to 5 percent of Lottery profits—over $31.5 million a year!

No other state is paying for private management of the Lottery—Illinois will be the first. At a time when the state has a deficit of $13 billion, and schools and vendors are not being paid, it is outrageous to hire a private management company to expand the Lottery and fleece residents!

Anita Bedell, Executive Director

Illinois Church Action on Alcohol

& Addiction Problems

Springfield, Ill.

From the Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2010 issue

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