Scientific Games urges Rhode Island lawmakers to reopen bidding for instant lottery ticket contract
Arguing that rival gaming firm International Game Technology (IGT) was awarded a lucrative instant lottery ticket contract without a suitable bidding process, Las Vegas-headquartered Scientific Games Corporation has asked Rhode Island lawmakers to reopen bidding for the same.
Scientific Games Corp. said that Rhode Island’s instant (scratch-off) lottery business could be even better with the competition that was possible only through a proper bidding process. The gaming company has a long experience in the instant lottery business, with operations in a number of states, including Connecticut and Maine.
The Las Vegas-based gaming and lottery services provider lost the scratch-off business in Rhode Island in 2017. The Rhode Island Lottery gave that contract to Scientific Games’ competitor IGT without allowing other potential competitors to bid for the contract.
When asked for a comment, IGT Chairman Robert Vincent said that it was Scientific Games’ “last gasp” effort to gain back the lost contract for selling the lucrative instant lottery tickets in the state.
Defending his company’s success at gaining the controversial contract, Vincent added, “For a whole host of political or commercial [reasons], people try to pick apart the threads and …say, ‘Oh we could do this better or we could do that better.″
Currently, IGT is working with the Rhode Island General Assembly for approval of a long-term (20-year) contract, which will cement the lottery giant’s status as Rhode Island’s dominant provider of slot machines and video lottery terminals (VLTs). Although Scientific Games is a competitor to IGT in the fields of slot machines and VLTs, but the former is focused mainly on the instant lottery ticket selling in Rhode Island.
Over the long-running controversy over the instant lottery contract, IGT is now playing the jobs card. The gaming firm employs more than 1,100 workers in Rhode Island and it has repeated warned that in case of its failure in securing a long-term contract, there can be no guarantee that it would be able to uphold that level of jobs in the state. An unnamed operator, which tried to snatch the contract from IGT, also failed to assure policymakers that it could match IGT’s ability in provide employment in the state.
However, Scientific Games continues to argue that granting Rhode Island’s scratch-off lottery contract to a single vendor resulted in a considerable loss of business to neighboring states like Massachusetts. As per available stats, Rhode Island adults spend an average of $93.30 per year on scratchers, while Massachusetts’ spending average on instant lottery tickets is $520.50 per year.
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