The Illinois Department of Lottery is working to decide whether it wants to take a chance on a new Monopoly game that will be rolled out in October across the United States.
The decision-making process is hurting the profitability of the Illinois Lottery, according the private company that manages it.
Northstar Lottery Group, which was awarded a 10-year contract to manage the Illinois Lottery in 2010, is pushing for the state to include a new, national $5 Monopoly game.
Northstar CEO Tim Simonson said there is lots of work to be done to become involved with a national game.
"You can't do this on a dime," he said in a meeting with The Southern's editorial board.
Northstar presents the Illinois Department of Lottery with a business plan each fiscal year. That plan includes requests to include new games.
"That approval (for Monopoly) has yet to be forthcoming," Simonson said.
Department of Lottery Director Michael Jones said there is good reason for the lack of an answer.
"We've done almost all of our due diligence," he said. "We haven't turned it down at all."
Jones said since Northstar took over the Lottery, the company has requested approval for more than 200 initiatives and all but one have been approved.
The new Monopoly game is different than the scratch-off ticket, which is already available in Illinois.
The game will cost $5 to play and include a Saturday night TV show. Players would purchase their tickets and watch the show to find out if they're winners. It's set to launch in October, with the TV show to begin airing in January.
Jones said his department is looking into whether the game would cannibalize sales of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.
"We need to appeal to everybody," he said. "(Monopoly) is being touted as an alternative to Mega Millions and Powerball."
Simonson said all of Illinois' border states are participating, adding that Northstar was hired to make these type of decisions.
"We will assume that risk," he said. "We're a bit frustrated the ability to grow sales has been difficult."
According to Jones, Northstar has missed its fiscal goals since taking over the Lottery.
"They have not come close to hitting the profits they promised the state," he said. "In the first three years, they've missed profits more than $400 million."
Simonson said if the new Monopoly game isn't approved, Northstar will have to adjust it's most recent profit goals.
According to Jones, if the private manager misses its income goals by 10 percent two straight years, the contract could be terminated.
Thanks to Coin Toss for the tip.