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Calls For Minority Inclusion In Bid For IL Lottery

CHICAGO  -- Together the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Women's Business Development Center, the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, Chatham Business Association and the Chicago Urban League announced their support today for Camelot Illinois' bid to manage the Illinois Lottery, urging Governor Quinn to select the company on or before September 15.

At a press conference this morning held outside of a lottery retailer at 956 N. Larrabee in Chicago, leaders from several of the groups called on the Illinois Lottery to award its nationally precedent-setting contract to a lottery management company committed to diversity and diverse vendor development for minority and women owned business enterprises. They also called for a change in the Lottery's operational and marketing strategy from its current regressive model that relies disproportionately on revenues from low-income communities.  

The groups championed Camelot Illinois as the only bidder that can effectively change the direction of the Lottery towards a model that is more progressive, transparent, inclusive and socially responsible.  

"We are impressed and encouraged to see that Camelot Illinois has committed to diverse prime and subcontracting vendors, going so far as to specify inclusion in the amount of 20 percent in each case," said Omar Duque, president and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, representing 72,000 businesses. "For years, the Illinois Lottery has had a bad track record when it comes to supplier diversity. This contract is an opportunity to change that and selecting an offeror who is committed to diversity is the only way we can. We urge Governor Quinn to take this important component into consideration when he selects the winning company next week."

The Women's Business Development Center (WBDC), now celebrating its 25th anniversary and representing thousands of women owned and minority owned businesses in Illinois, emphasized that point and Camelot Illinois' approach to socially responsible gaming.  

"The current contractors which make up the competing bidder, Northstar Lottery, have marketed the Lottery to vulnerable buyers in a disproportionate manner while simultaneously providing limited opportunities for diverse suppliers," said Hedy Ratner, co-president of the WBDC. "A firm commitment to prime and subcontracting to the state's large numbers of capable minority and women business enterprises, as well as a socially responsible gaming strategy that markets to a broader base of players and doesn't target vulnerable communities in game development – two primary factors in Camelot's approach – is key to reversing that trend."

This joint announcement follows Camelot's bid submission last Friday to improve the underperforming Illinois Lottery. Last year, the Illinois General Assembly approved the hire of a professional lottery management company to increase profitability and revenue for Illinois. Governor Quinn will announce a winner on or before September 15.

During this morning's conference, the participating organizations outlined additional reasons for their support, including:

  • The company has made a commitment to supplier diversity, citing that at least 20 percent of lottery supplier and vendor contracts will be awarded to women, racial and ethnic minorities and entrepreneurs with disabilities. Of those contractors and vendors who aren't diverse, they will be required to comply with Camelot's commitment through subcontracting with diverse businesses.
  • Camelot has committed to creating the Illinois Lottery Foundation, an independently managed fund that would award grants to educational programs and organizations across the state. The company has agreed to donate 10 percent of its profits up to $35 million during the contract's 10-year term.
  • Camelot doesn't present any conflicts of interest, which are inherent in the Northstar Lottery bid. Because they're not currently a vendor nor do they have relationships with existing Illinois Lottery suppliers, Camelot Illinois can secure the best vendors to provide services to the Lottery and negotiate appropriate pricing and efficiencies to help drive down costs.
  • Camelot is the only bidder in the running with a solid history of success in lottery management. The company has run the UK National Lottery since 1994 and currently serves as a consultant to the California State Lottery, where it has already delivered benefits via increased sales and a return to the state's education fund.

Chatham Business Association (CBA) actively works with state and local leaders on community initiatives, such as those championed by organizations like Camelot Illinois, whose goals are to revitalize the business climate and be socially responsible and transparent.  

The association's executive director, Melinda Kelly, said, "CBA would like to applaud the Governor and Illinois General Assembly who deemed there was a need to hire a professional lottery management company and hence, initiated an invitation to bid process that attracted a socially responsible organization like Camelot that has committed to accountability.  We are confident that that same governing body will select the best company with the best approach to jump start area businesses; develop entrepreneurship that builds strong communities; and stimulate our economy as we seek to create and sustain employment opportunities."

"The Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, the oldest organization in the city representing Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), also supports the inclusion that Camelot Illinois has committed to the MBE community. It is imperative that MBEs are included in this process," said Phillip Barreda, executive vice president of the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council.

The Chicago Urban League wasn't able to participate in the conference, but executive vice president Herman Brewer said later, "The Illinois Lottery was given a mandate to help fund the state's education system. Unfortunately they've been under-delivering for years. With the state in a financial crisis and our education system at the heart of that crisis, the creation of the Illinois Lottery Foundation – funded by Camelot's own profits – demonstrates their real desire to do right by the state, to improve the system and to deliver returns to our residents. We encourage Governor Quinn to award this important contract to Camelot Illinois."  

Several of the groups indicated they would be commenting at the public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. During the hearing, each bidder will present its plan for management of the Lottery to the evaluation panel. An opportunity for public comment will follow.  



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