After Pennsylvania, New Jersey Also Faces Lottery Privatization Issues

After reports of Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett's issues with state lottery privatization initiative, it turned out that another US state has similar issues.

Apparently, New Jersey's Chris Christie will have to face the opposition of six members of Congress who have asked federal Attorney General Eric Holder to scrutinize a 15 year privatization contract for the $2.7 billion New Jersey state lottery given to a joint venture titled Northstar New Jersey.

The six Democrats in question are Bill Pascrell, D-Paterson; Rob Andrews, D-Camden; Rush Holt, D-Mercer; Frank Pallone, D-Monmouth; Albio Sires, D-Hudson; and Donald Payne, D-Essex.

It has been reported that this request for the federal AG's intervention comes during the 10-day waiting period before the contract to operate the state lottery can be finalized, and that in it, the politicians who launched the request express reservations about the $120 million upfront payment for the contract, claiming that it could represent a violation of a 2008 US Department of Justice opinion.

'This opinion explicitly stated that, in order to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption, a state should not receive any upfront payment from a private lottery manager,' they stated.

Another Democratic Party politician, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, also asked the governor to put the lottery contract on hold, if necessary beyond the 10 day waiting period, until the federal AGs opinion has been obtained.

However, New Jersey Treasury spokesman Bill Quinn does not seem to be moved by the attempt to derail the project, noting that the contract was extensively reviewed by the New Jersey AG and other legal specialists, and that it had complied with all legal requirements.

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