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Idaho State Lottery spies on vendors for Keno, other illegal games

TAGs: Florida Lottery, Idaho Lottery, IGT, Keno, Leonard Postrado

To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.

Idaho State Lottery spies on vendors for Keno, other illegal gamesThe Idaho State Lottery is employing an unconventional strategy to understand illegal gambling games by simply asking potential vendors on how they will offer these prohibited products when they bid on a lucrative decade-long contract.

The Associated Press reported that Idaho State Lottery officials had been requesting vendors for information on games like Keno, which is prohibited under the state constitution.

Idaho State Lottery Director Jeff Anderson explained that they are employing such strategy to get a clear picture of what vendors are providing elsewhere. He pointed out that information they collected from potential vendors will have no bearing in their bid for Idaho’s lucrative decade-long lottery contract.

The state Lottery Commission could select the winner of the 10-year contract — which comes with two optional 5-year extensions — as early as November. Bids will be evaluated over the next few weeks.

“It’s a very rapidly evolving industry,” Anderson said. “We’re certainly not looking to authorize Keno, but it’s insightful to know what their capabilities are across all jurisdictions where they operate.”

But the Idaho State Lottery’s unconventional way of information gathering has raised eyebrows of illegal gambling critics.

Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill slammed the Idaho State Lottery for their request for information on illegal gambling games, saying that it is an attempt to make an end-run around the Legislature.

“They’re asking a provider to talk about the possibility of providing services that the Idaho Legislature has made very clear are illegal, and the Idaho Attorney General has made very clear are unconstitutional,” Hill said Thursday. “… I’m trying to be open minded about this, but I just can’t buy it.”

Anderson, however, denied that the State Lottery is attempting to circumvent the law, saying that he has no plans to ask Congress to allow any current illegal games.

“Eight years from now we’ll have a different governor and a different Legislature and maybe a different budget and a different economy,” Anderson said. “We’re not asking, ‘Hey, help us set up a Keno system,’ we’re just saying, ‘Can you do it?'”

IGT secures extension with Florida Lottery

In other U.S. lottery news, Florida Lottery has extended the contract of gaming device maker International Game Technology.

Reuters reported that IGT signed the contract with Florida Lottery to provide wide array of new lottery solutions and ongoing services for 13 years, through 2031. Initially, IGT is to provide its services for a 10-year period.

Florida Lottery simultaneously exercised first of its three available three-year renewal options.

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