TRENTON – A Democrat-sponsored bill to require any bid to privatize the state lottery be subject to approval of the state Legislature received final legislative approval when it was approved 23-17 Monday by the Senate.
The bill (A-3614) comes as the Christie administration moves to privatize lottery services, despite numerous questions about the plan and the administration’s refusal to explain the plan to the public at Assembly Budget Committee hearings on the issue.
“The proposal to privatize without public explanation one of our most profitable and well-run assets is troubling,” said Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen), the Assembly budget chairman. “The Christie administration appears ready to forfeit substantial long-term revenue for a one-shot payment that will also hurt small business owners and risk vital programs for our students, veterans and the disabled. More oversight is clearly needed.”
The state established a lottery in 1970 to be operated by the state, with the entire net proceeds dedicated to state institutions and state aid for education. Under current law, the state Lottery Commission and the Division of State Lottery in the Department of the Treasury administer the lottery in accordance with its constitutional and statutory mission.
The bill would require that a contract between the state and a private entity that provides for the operation of the state Lottery by the private entity must be subject to the approval of the members of the Senate and the General Assembly, by a majority vote of such members in the form of a concurrent resolution.
Under the bill, such a contract would not be operative unless thusly approved.
The bill was approved 45-29 by the Assembly in January. It now goes to the governor, who is likely to veto it.