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Audit of Colorado lottery to be released today

Dec 1, 2003, 5:19 am

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Colorado LotteryColorado Lottery: Audit of Colorado lottery to be released today

Intensive review examines overall performance

An audit of the Colorado Lottery is scheduled to be unveiled today, capping an extensive review that focused on its overall performance.

As part of their focus, state auditors centered on contract management, lottery records show.

Specifically, auditors inquired about Scientific Games International, the company that recently won the multimillion-dollar contract to run Powerball, Lotto and Cash 5 games. The Georgia-based company runs the lottery's scratch-off games as well. Auditors also inquired about the lottery's advertising contracts.

Other objects of interest for auditors were how the lottery collects past-due accounts, how much public participation takes place at lottery commission meetings and lottery enforcement, records show.

Officials with the state Department of Revenue, which oversees the lottery, would not comment, citing the state law that prdvents them from doing so.

Revenue spokeswoman Diane Reimer predicted there would be little controversy.

"The recommendations come with a lot of foresight on the part of the auditor's staff, and it's not very often there's disagreements between us," she said.

In general, state audits point out "good business practices, something we've overlooked, something that would make things go more smoothly," Reimer said.

This audit, known as a performance audit, is required every five years, and is a far more extensive review than annual financial audits.

For example, the most recent such audit found that the Colorado Lottery broke state budget laws by giving away tickets in an effort to win new customers.

Auditors were particularly concerned that the free tickets were being used to pay people and barter for services.

They also were concerned that there appeared to be few controls on the practice.

After that audit, the lottery tightened its rules.

This audit comes at a time when the Department of Revenue and lottery commissioners are seeking a new lottery director.

Mark Zamarripa abruptly resigned Nov. 14, leaving a post he held for nine years.

Zamarripa has said that leaving the $111,100-a-year job was not related to the audit or any problems at the agency.

Denver Post

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