|In America, the state of Ohio has put the brakes on its $170 million lottery contract to Greece’s Intralot in order to allow time for losing bidder GTech to submit a complaint on the process.|
Although based in Providence, Rhode Island, GTech is owned by an Italian firm and has operated Ohio’s lottery for over 20 years. It is challenging the contract award on the basis that Intralot lacks the experience and equipment to run the mid-western state’s $2.2 billion lottery.
Michael Dolan, Director for the State Controlling Board, said that he had withdrawn a request that the body approve the deal, which would see Intralot run the lottery from July of next year, in order to hold a hearing into the matter sometime over the next two weeks.
GTech is also claiming that Intralot misled the evaluation committee by falsely claiming it never had been fined for performance problems. It then submitted public documents revealing that lottery officials in Idaho and Nebraska had penalised the company. According to a piece in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, fines are not uncommon among lottery contracts and Intralot's were ultimately waived.
Dolan stated that he had offered GTech a one-hour meeting tomorrow in order to make its case to the Controlling Board and answer questions about the protest. He said that, based on what he knows so far, he would reject the complaint, although he revealed that he is still waiting for a report from a task force reviewing GTech's claims.
Dolan told legislators last week that protests were not uncommon in lottery contracts because there are essentially only three qualified companies in North America and contracts last up to ten years in most states.
'It's big business,' said Dolan.
'They fight. It's a competitive business.'