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Lottery operator expected to reach first-year goal

INDIANAPOLIS – The private operator of the Hoosier Lottery is expected to hit its first-year goal at the end of June – if sales exceed budget by 14 percent the remaining two months of the fiscal year.

“I believe the forecast at this point,” said William Zielke, chairman of the State Lottery Commission. “Trends show we are moving in that direction.”

A financial update was given at Tuesday’s commission meeting. The panel also heard a pitch for next year’s annual business plan, which must be approved soon.

Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Sarah Taylor expressed concern that one proposed bingo game was veering too close to Internet gaming, which is against Gov. Mike Pence’s desire.

Bingo To Go would involve the use of a cellphone application and a dramatization of a bingo drawing.

GTECH was tapped in late 2012 to take over a large portion of operations of the Hoosier Lottery.

It handles day-to-day management over marketing, sales and distribution. For instance, GTECH handles retailer recruitment, game development, advertising and supply issues.

The State Lottery Commission through its state employees still handles security, prize payments and accounting. The five-member board also approves GTECH's annual business plan.

After a transition and ramp-up period, GTECH began implementing its full business plan in July 2013. Its target for the current fiscal year ending June 30 is to return $256 million to the state. After commission salaries and other expenses are taken out the goal drops to about $248 million.

If GTECH doesn't meet that amount, the company would have to make a shortfall payment to the state.

“The Hoosier Lottery has had the best financial performance to date in its 25-year history -- which perfectly aligns with state law requiring the lottery to maximize revenues,” Taylor said.

“As a result of this upward trend, the state will see $248 million for FY 2014 efforts, and that’s money returning to local communities through pensions and a reduction in motor vehicle excise tax. I’m looking forward to seeing this upward trend continue into next year.”

For more on this story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

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