Casinos? Not if we can’t properly handle the Lottery

I’m actually for casinos coming to Georgia and I believe in the next year or two, we will see some sort of legislation passed to bring casinos to Georgia, but I doubt it will be anything I can support.

My problem is how the state will meddle in the industry and the manage the funds…poorly.

All we have to do is look to the Georgia Lottery Corporation, a much simpler practice, and the most recent audit to see what we’re in for. Lawmakers requested an audit of FY 2016 practices and here are just a few of the issues found:

  • The biggest expenditure for the agency is actually to contractors who run the games, like Scientific Games and International Game Technology. The auditors have said the agency needs to bid contracts out instead of continually renewing the contracts with the same companies without considering other prices and entities.
    • Some contracts have gone 22 years without rebidding.
    • One contract with IGT was $48.4 million for one year. Even consideration of bids on the basis of sheer cost would make more sense than doing nothing.
  • The GLC spends more money advertising outside of Georgia than inside of Georgia.
  • $700,000 in bonuses were awarded to employees of the GLC in FY 2016 alone despite the fact that lawmakers enacted a law in 2011 that limited bonuses (part of the HOPE scholarship changes)
  • The way certain prizes are issued, the GLC isn’t even able to determine if there is a return on investment for having the game in place
    • For example:  Free ticket prizes would need to generate approximately $82 million in additional sales to cover the additional costs of awarding free tickets as a prize.
  • The Lottery hasn’t hit the 35% mark for sales for state education in years.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not really interested in more of the same. There may be excuses for some of the issues, but it’s much like the DOT and the Transportation Tax legislation in 2015: Get your ducks in a row before you ask people to trust you with something else.

Shouldn’t we fix the problems we have currently before adding more to the system?

See the entire audit yourself, which is online on the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts website.


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