CapitolFax today draws out the comments of Lottery industry expert Kip Peterson, from WBEZ's "848" show. You can listen to the May 24th show here, just go about 23 minutes in.
Capitolfax omits a couple of facts brought up in that interview that will doom the Governor's proposal.
First, according to Peterson, the only way to make the Lottery deal profitable enough to draw an offer that large is to legalize keno. That was an idea that the General Assembly has already soundly rejected.
Secondly, there are reportedly only three companies in the world with the capacity to run the lottery. One is John Wyma client GTECH. The mere mention of GTECH in conjunction with this proposal is enough to ensure not only no Republican votes, but no targeted Democrats can vote for it either.
Peterson also rebuts Becky Carroll, who points out in her arguments that Great Britain has privatized its lottery. The difference, says Peterson, is that the Britain deal is a seven-year license to run the lottery, not an outright transfer of ownership. The risk is much smaller on both sides of the table.
Peterson says the best way for Illinois to get the most money out of it's lottery system is to follow in the footsteps of Georgia and turn the lottery into a quasi-private agency (similar to the Post Office) still under state control. Of course, the big stumbling block with that idea is that Illinois doesn't get $10 billion upfront, so the Governor has no way to buy Senator Meeks off.
UPDATE: YDD has learned that the lobbyist for the second lottery competitor, Scientific Games, is Blagojevich insider Milan Petrovic. For more on GTECH, I recommend reading this Fortune Magazine profile: "Rare is the company that has faced as many allegations of baldly sleazy conduct as Gtech". Heartwarming, isn't it?