The Washington Post

Revenue for the Illinois lottery is millions of dollars less than expected


A customer holds a Mega Millions lottery ticket at a convenience store in Chicago in 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has in effect fired the private company managing the state’s lottery following years of less-than-expected revenue and a shortfall as high as $401 million.

Quinn on Friday called on the Illinois Lottery to end its relationship with Northstar Lottery Group, which has run the lottery since a 2010 agreement. The group was in the third year of a 10-year contract with the state, according to the Chicago Tribune. Representatives for Northstar and the Illinois Lottery did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Illinois Lottery spokesman Mike Lang told the Chicago Tribune the group supports Quinn’s decision.

“The administration has had serious concerns with Northstar’s performance,” said Katie Hickey, a spokeswoman for Quinn, in an e-mail. “The Governor demands every state contractor be held accountable for their performance.”

According to Illinois Lottery’s most recent quarterly report, this year’s net income target was $980 million; however, estimates put it at $579 million, a more than $400 million difference. Revenue for specialty cause instant games including Ticket For The Cure, for breast cancer research, and Spread The Word, for AIDS research and prevention, has also fallen significantly for the past three years.

“The state is in the process of finalizing a path that will allow the Lottery to move on, improve profits and increase funding for education and economic development across the state,” Hickey said.

Hunter Schwarz covers the intersection of politics and pop culture for the Washington Post

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