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S.C. makes bid to help Tenn. lottery

Nov 5, 2003, 5:31 am

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The South Carolina lottery, much like its neighbor in Georgia, has pitched the idea of helping out with the Tennessee lottery startup.

Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TELC) President Rebecca Paul was lured away from the successful Georgia Lottery Corporation in early September. The week before, the upstart lottery board here voted against the notion of a partnership with Paul and Georgia.

South Carolina lottery officials were openly critical of the potential Georgia-Tennessee partnership saying projected savings outlined under data gathered by a TELC-hired consultant was inaccurate.

Paul, as CEO of the Georgia Lottery, told TELC board members she could have the Tennessee lottery up and selling tickets by Christmas and could save the state money in gaming-vendor contracts. Citing potential litigation, under a Georgia partnership, the TELC board hired Paul as president here with a new goal for ticket sales by February.

Paul had pitched the same Georgia partnership to the South Carolina startup less than two years earlier.

South Carolina Education Lottery Information Technology director Liz Mason wrote a letter to Paul last week pitching a "back office" application formed by the lottery there.

"I know that startup of lotteries can be tough, and I wanted to let you and your team know South Carolina is there to assist you with any startup questions or solution discussions," wrote Mason. "I would appreciate your teams consideration in using these applications during your startup phase, and possibly after startup."

The letter, along with a brochure describing the Lottery Command Console, laid out South Carolinas system devised to assist in lottery startups.

"I think you will find this solution extremely effective in getting Tennessees lottery going in the next few months. We can provide software, hosting and support services to Tennessee (for LCC) during startup and transfer this to your team once they are ready," stated the letter.

Will Pinkston, TELC spokesperson, says the use of South Carolina systems may be unlikely.

"Its surprising that South Carolina was such a vocal critic of interstate cooperation two months ago and now seems to think its a good idea," said Pinkston. "But we may give this proposal due consideration at some point. But I doubt well pursue it."

South Carolina CEO Ernie Passalaigue says the South Carolina proposal is less extensive than the proposal made by Georgia.

"We werent critical of the [Tennessee-Georgia] partnership," said Passalaigue. "We were asked to give the positives and negatives of a potential partnership. Its up to the people who govern the games of the Tennessee Lottery."

Passalaigue says the South Carolina lottery has spent a great deal of time and money on the office applications and that they would likely be promoting the system to other lotteries in the future. "Cost analysis" of using the system would have to be negotiated, he said.

Pinkston said if the Tennessee lottery went the South Carolina route, the system would likely be in addition to contracts to gaming vendors to be awarded on Nov. 24.

Passalaigue says Paul has not contacted the South Carolina lottery.

"These are some things weve benefited from, from our perspective," he said. "Im not sure if [Paul] needs our help."

Lottery legislation, made possible by an successful voter referendum last year, passed the General Assembly this past summer.

Net lottery proceeds are to go first to college scholarships, K-12 capital outlay projects and early learning and after school programs. Officials hope to fund scholarships by the fall of 2004.

Nashville City Paper

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