Indiana is considering a Wall Street investment firm to help it pull together a plan to lease the Hoosier Lottery, despite legislative skepticism that could kill the deal.
Gov. Mitch Daniels said Friday the administration is negotiating a contract with Morgan Stanley to test the market. A similar contract with Goldman Sachs & Co. to market the Indiana Toll Road last year was worth about $20 million.
The Toll Road eventually was leased for 75 years for $3.8 billion, and the state has estimated that a 30-year lease of the lottery would bring in $1 billion upfront, plus additional money annually.
"A billion dollars is just our best estimate. It could be more," Daniels said.
The governor noted that some other states such as Illinois and New Jersey also are exploring putting their state lotteries in the hands of private management.
House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer said Daniels is moving too fast.
"The bill to sell the lottery has not yet even been heard (in the legislature), and they're already putting out apparently feelers for it," said Bauer, D-South Bend. "I just think that's jumping the law, if not the gun. I think 'presumptuous' is too soft a word to say when the governor goes ahead and ignores the fact that that bill hasn't passed."
So far, legislators in both parties have had more questions than praise for the proposal, and some — including Bauer — have said a private firm would have to expand gambling greatly in Indiana to make a profit.