Illinois Lottery Issues Causes Probe Into Gaming Technology Providers

by Jim Hall

Illinois LotteryIGT and Scientific Games are now facing an internal probe based on the fact that lottery scratch-off games in Illinois supposedly did not pay all of their prizes.

The Illinois Lottery provides players with a wealth of gaming options that can be enjoyed throughout the state. Players who purchase lottery tickets expect to play the game and be paid when they earn a prize. Apparently, two gaming technology providers involved with the lottery are now subject to an investigation after it has been alleged that they did not award all grand prizes won.

IGT and Scientific Games Face Trouble

The technology providers in question are IGT and Scientific Games, both top companies in the gaming industry. It appears that lawmakers of the state have found out that a scratch-off game offered by the state lottery did not award all the grand prizes to players. Both republicans and democrats in the state have started a probe on the Northstar Lottery Group. This company is owned by Scientific Games and IGT together.

The investigation began after the Chicago Tribune published a report that discussed how players seemed to have been tricked by the privately managed lottery. In 2015, the Northstar Company was let go by Governor Bruce Rauner with the contract to be terminated by the 31st of December this year. This was done based on the company not meeting their promises of revenue amounts.

Supposedly, hearings have been called by several state legislators to see how the games were managed. Games in question include Freezing Your Bucks Off and The Good Life. The Tribune stated that State Representatives Lou Lang, David McSweeney, Terry Link and Scott Drury all called for the meetings to take place to discuss the games.

Lang stated that the state should not be promising people things that are not delivered. If they say the game is going to pay a certain amount then it should. If it doesn’t, then the state has lied to those who have purchased tickets. According to McSweeney, the hearings will give players a full explanation of what happened and the bottom line will ensure the integrity of the games.

The Issue

From the Tribune report, an investigation by the newspaper showed that the Northstar did not award the big prizes after 138 instant games were reviewed. This took place from the time frame of 2011 to 2016. The investigation further looked into 17 games where the biggest prizes were due.

The newspaper was able to expose that the lottery paid a lower percentage of revenue than the games they were designed to pay, often. Fluctuations do happen in the gaming industry but it was found that in Illinois, the results were lower than anywhere else. This reportedly kept millions of prizes from being awarded to those who played the game.

A response has been provided by the companies involved in the matter, with Susan Cartwright, a spokesperson for Scientific Games, stating that the company is welcome to a state review of their performance as the vendor for the state and a partner firm within Northstar.

Cartwright stated that Scientific Games served the state for over four decades and generated billions of dollars for citizens. The company encourages a review by the public officials who are responsible for state-regulated gaming operations and pledges to be cooperated in regards to a review.

IGT also commented on the matter by stating that Northstar has made decisions in a consistent and unwavering manner that has been to the benefit of players and the state lottery and not suppliers, IGT and Scientific Games.