IGT made a victim in Maryland lottery brouhaha

in Peter by

If you ever want to complain about how the Lottery is run in Florida, just take a gander at how other states royally screw it up.

And how they victimize the companies getting it right.

The most recent lesson comes from Maryland. Lottery officials there admitted they “inflated” an 8-year, $262 million IT contract “to include kinds of internet gambling that aren’t allowed under state law,” the Associated Press recently reported.

Basically, they said it was a time-saver.

The officials said “they included internet gambling ‘simply to avoid future review’ … if and when lawmakers approve the expansion.”

Caught up in this mess is International Game Technology (IGT), which also does business with the Florida Lottery.

The firm just inked a deal in Florida with the agency to provide new retailer terminals, in-store signage, self-service lottery vending machines, self-service ticket checkers and an upgraded communications network.

But in Maryland, IGT lost a contract to Scientific Games International, a competitor.

“IGT points out that Scientific Games’ bid was about $25 million higher than its own, despite the fact that incumbent contractors are typically able to propose lower prices than competitors, because they already have staff and infrastructure in place,” the AP story said.

“Angela Wiczek, a spokeswoman for IGT, said that without the internet component, its own bid would have been even lower, about $30 million under the winner.”

When Florida went with IGT, it meant ensuring billions of dollars going into the state’s trust fund that pays for education, including scholarships for needy and deserving kids.

In Maryland, on the other hand, choosing the other, more expensive guy, means “reducing by millions of dollars the money for public education, health and safety.”

So let’s sum it up: Would you rather the Old Line State‘s procurement blues or the Sunshine State’s rays of happiness it gets from a tried and true vendor?

Let’s see if Maryland gets it right the next time…

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.