SPRINGFIELD -- The losing bidder for a lucrative contract to manage the Illinois lottery is protesting the outcome, claiming the selection of a competitor violated state law and bidding procedures.

SPRINGFIELD -- The losing bidder for a lucrative contract to manage the Illinois lottery is protesting the outcome, claiming the selection of a competitor violated state law and bidding procedures.

In a 24-page complaint, Camelot Illinois said the state essentially predetermined that the private management contract would be awarded to Northstar Lottery Group, a consortium of companies that already hold contracts with the state lottery.

“We request that that the state stay the selection of Northstar Lottery as private manager and reopen the bidding process and this time administer a bid process that is truly equitable and transparent,” said Dianne Thompson, chief executive officer for Camelot, in a prepared statement.

Camelot said the selection process contained a number of breaches of state law and bidding procedures, including “failure of the bidding process to create a competitive environment, the bidding process being unevenly skewed towards the existing vendors of the lottery and unequal access to information by bidders.”

Northstar’s selection means the state will not be getting as much from the lottery as it could have, Camelot said.

Camelot spokesman Jerry Lawrence said the company had no comment beyond the written statement. Officials of both the lottery and Northstar declined to respond.

Northstar is a consortium of GTECH, Scientific Games and Energy/BBDO. GTECH now supplies the state’s lottery terminals, Scientific Games supplies instant lottery tickets and Energy/BBDO is the lottery’s advertising agency.

Camelot and Northstar were the two finalists. Another company, Intralot S.A., was eliminated earlier stage and also has protested the selection process.

Among the complaints made by Camelot are:

*The state law authorizing a private manager for the lottery called for existing lottery contracts to be terminated and rebid. The state did not do that, giving a competitive edge to Northstar. The award to Northstar also means vendors will be managing themselves, Camelot said.

*Camelot spent weeks asking the state for additional information it needed to complete its bid. The state released the information, more than 200 documents, only six days before bids were due. Camelot asked for a week’s extension, but was given only four days.

*Camelot said that Northstar had access to the information months before Camelot did. In many cases, Camelot said, the new information was prepared by or for the companies that make up Northstar.

*Camelot said it needed to talk to lottery managers in order to develop a competitive bid. It first asked for a meeting June 11, but got a meeting only after threatening not to submit a bid. The meeting also occurred only six days before bids were due.

Meanwhile, Camelot said, as state contractors, the companies making up Northstar had routine access to lottery officials and information.

*Camelot said Northstar redacted 400 of the 675 pages of its final offer to the state.

“Given the scarcity of information that remains in the Northstar Consortium’s Final Binding Offer, Camelot cannot reasonably determine the terms under which the Northstar Consortium bid, nor make a meaningful comparison of Camelot’s bid against the Northstar Consortium’s bid,” the complaint said.

The Department of Revenue has said it will handle both protests as laid out in the bid documents. However, it also said it will continue to do final background checks on Northstar with the goal of having a signed contract in place in four to six weeks.

State lawmakers authorized the hiring of a private lottery manager in hopes it would result in increased sales and more money in state coffers.

State officials said Northstar won the contract largely because it offered a greater return to the state than Camelot.

 

Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527.