Gaming technology provider IGT and Scientific Games are now in hot water after state lawmakers learned that the Illinois Lottery’s scratch-off game didn’t award all of their grand prizes.
Both legislative parties in Illinois launched a probed on Northstar Lottery Group – which IGT and Scientific Games owns – after daily newspaper Chicago Tribune published an exclusive story on how the privately managed state lottery seemed to have swindled its players.
Last year, Gov. Bruce Rauner gave Northstar the boot, terminating its contract as of Dec. 31, 2016, for failing to meet revenue promises.
The Tribune reported that state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie. Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), Rep. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), and Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) called for hearings on how games like the colorfully dubbed “The Good Life” and “Freezing Your Bucks Off” were managed.
“I just don’t think we should promise people things we don’t deliver,” Lang said “And if we say we have a game that’s going to pay X and it doesn’t pay X, then we’ve lied to the people who bought the tickets.”
McSweeney said hearings would provide players “a full explanation of what happened.”
“The bottom line: It’s for the integrity of the games,” he said.
The Tribune uncovered in its journalistic investigation that Northstar failed to award all of their big prizes after it finished reviewing 138 instant games between 2011 and 2016, and honing in on 17 games with the biggest prizes.
In a nut shell, the newspaper expose uncovered that “the lottery often paid a lower percentage of revenue than the games were designed to pay. While fluctuations are common in the industry, Illinois’ results were lower than found elsewhere — keeping millions of dollars from players’ pockets.”
For its part, Scientific Games spokesman Susan Cartwright said in a written statement to the news agency that the company welcomes any state review of its performance as a vendor and partner firm of Northstar.
“Scientific Games has served the State of Illinois for more than 40 years, generating billions of dollars for its citizens,” Cartwright said. “Scientific Games encourages any review by the responsible public officials of state-regulated gaming operations and pledges its full cooperation with any review.”
In response to the news report, IGT told The Tribune that “Northstar consistently and unwaveringly made decisions for the benefit of the players and the Illinois Lottery and not its suppliers IGT or Scientific Games.”