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Justice Opinion Complicates IA Lottery Proposal

January 23, 2009, 3:57 PM

Iowa officials say they're still committed to exploring the sale or lease of the state Lottery to raise money to cover a budget shortfall, but they acknowledge their plans could be complicated by a legal opinion that requires the state to maintain control over the games.

The October 2008 opinion from the Justice Department came after Indiana looked into privatizing its lottery.  The agency found that states could contract with private entities to operate lotteries but must retain control over
significant business decisions.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says the restriction could make a sale less attractive but added that a private group exploring the idea knows of the decision and was still considering the idea.

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