An Atlanta ticket-printing firm that spent more than $90,000 to push for legal gambling here is among three groups competing for the first gambling franchise to be awarded--operating rights for a city-sanctioned instant lottery game to begin this fall.
Scientific Games Development Corp. of Atlanta, which in 1980 mounted a successful $80,000 media campaign to get the city's gambling referendum passed and contributed $10,000 more to the D.C. Committee to Legalize Gambling, has bid on the contract along with Glendinning Inc. of Westport, Conn., and Raven Systems and Research Inc. of Washington.
Brant J. Coopersmith, chairman of the D.C. lottery board and past chairman of the Committee to Legalize Gambling, said he does not feel pressured to select any particular company to manage the game.
"We didn't want their Scientific's media campaign," Coopersmith said of the $80,000 blitz begun in the final month of the 1980 campaign. "We've had an exemplary selection process so far. If there's some way somebody can buy our votes, I'll be damned if I know about it."
Jerry S. Cooper, another lottery board member who served on the committee, said, "I think we are all concerned about the public perception. But we're not hypocrites. I've never bought a lottery ticket and I don't have any investments in Scientific or anyone else."
The instant lottery will be the first game of chance offered in Washington under a gambling intitiatve that voters approved by nearly a 2-to-1 margin in November 1980.
The company awarded the lottery contract would be responsible for printing and distributing 10 million lottery tickets, providing computer and accounting services, maintaining security and advertising and marketing the games, under terms of the proposal advertised by the D.C. Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board. The contract covers a period of about one year.
Tickets for the game, which will cost $1 each, will be distributed through vendors--most likely liquor and convenience stores--chosen by the lottery board. Customers could purchase an unlimited number of tickets. The customer would discover if he has won a cash prize by rubbing off a covering label on the ticket.
The lottery board has not yet determined the amount of cash winnings to be offered. In other states, however, instant lottery games pay anywhere from $2 to $25,000 on a $1 winning ticket.
Douglass Gordon, director of the D.C. lottery board, said the game probably will generate about $10 million in sales this year. Of that amount, half will be returned to players in prizes, 30 percent will go into the city's general fund and the remainder will pay for operating costs.
Members of the five-person lottery board have met several times during the past few days to review the voluminous, 10-inch-thick applications from all three companies. A decision could come as early as next week, according to board officials.
There has been some criticism of the selection process. Lottery company applicants have complained privately of the board's refusal to permit oral presentations to supplement the voluminous bids.
And D.C. City Council member William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5), chairman of the council's Government Operations Committee, said, "I would think the public should be apprised of the criteria used in the selection process. That would certainly engender more public confidence in the selection process. I hadn't even heard that a decision was imminent."
Scientific Games now has a contract with the Arizona Lottery Commission to print and distribute tickets for that state's instant lottery. Earlier this year, the commission asked the state attorney general's office to investigate the purchase of of Scientific Games by Bally Manufacturing Corp. of Chicago, Scott Phelps, assistant director of the Arizona commission said yesterday.
Bally operates a casino in Atlantic City and makes gaming and arcade machines. A spokesman for Bally, Jerry Blumenshine, said the Arizona Lottery Commission gave Bally "a clean bill of health" after the investigation and subsequently selected Bally to run the next three lottery games in the state.
Blumenshine said that Scientific Games is operated as an autonomous division of the company, and that he was not aware of any legal difficulties involving the company's lottery operations.
Another firm involved the bidding here, Raven Systems, has teamed with a New Jersey gaming company, Webcraft Inc., which until three months ago held the Arizona contract now held by Scientific Games.
Arizona officials canceled Webcraft's contract after learning that the numbers printed on the tickets could be detected without removing the covering label.
"The ticket problem has been resolved," Ray Mott, president of Raven, said yesterday. CAPTION: Picture 1, Brant Coopersmith,lottery chairman, says process is exemplary; Picture 2, Jerry S.Cooper says board is concerned about public perception; Picture 3, Douglas Gordon thinks lottery will generate $10 million this year. By Vanessa Barnes Hillian--The Washington Post