Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Game over? House speaker sues Florida Lottery over contract

Richard Corcoran says the contract for expansion exceeds the lottery’s authorized budget.

Richard Corcoran says the contract for expansion exceeds the lottery’s authorized budget.

TALLAHASSEE — Starting yet another battle with the Republican governor, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Friday asked a judge to block a contract that calls for a significant expansion of the Florida Lottery.

Corcoran filed a lawsuit in a Leon County court against the state's lottery secretary, contending that he violated state law when he signed a contract with IGT Global Solutions to help run major aspects of the lottery, including the systems used to sell tickets for games such as Powerball and Mega Millions.

The $700 million contract signed by Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie calls for increasing from 2,000 to 5,500 the number of automated ticket machines capable of selling both scratch-off tickets and tickets for games such as Powerball.

The contract also calls for a new smartphone application that will let players check their tickets and allow them to enter second chance sweepstakes that the lottery also offers.

But, in his lawsuit, the GOP speaker maintains that the contract signed in September is illegal because it exceeds the current budget authorized for the Florida Lottery.

Lottery officials — who report to the governor — have already asked legislators for an increase to help pay for it so the expansion can be in place by the end of this year. In a statement, Corcoran said state agencies do "not have the right to obligate the taxpayers of Florida by even a penny beyond what the people's elected representatives say they can."

"This lawsuit filed today is about the rule of law and the protection of taxpayers," Corcoran added. "In addition, I hope our actions today serve as a warning to any agency playing fast and loose with the rules that the people have had enough."

Corcoran has already been feuding with Scott in recent weeks over a push by House leaders to eliminate the state's tourism marketing agency and the agency that helps lure companies to relocate to the state. Corcoran in December filed a lawsuit against Visit Florida to force the agency to disclose details of a secret deal it signed with rap star Pitbull. Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez, used Twitter to release the full $1 million contract.

Jackie Schutz, a spokesperson for Scott, criticized the speaker, who is an attorney, for filing another lawsuit.

"The Florida Lottery's record sales have led to historic contributions to our state's education system and the House sues?" Schutz said. "Not shocking to have another lawsuit from a trial lawyer."

The contract approved by lottery officials is substantially larger than the previous one, even though sales for the so-called online games such as Powerball have remained steady for the past several years, except for one year when a record jackpot pushed up sales.

Lottery officials have defended it by saying the cost is tied to increased sales projections and that the amount paid to IGT will go down if there is a downturn in sales.

They also have estimated that the new contract will bring in more revenue. Nearly $1.7 billion in lottery profits is being used this year to pay for education expenses, including the state's Bright Futures college scholarships.

Florida had a contract with Gtech, one of the world's leading lottery operators that merged with International Game Technology and changed its name. IGT Global Solutions is a subsidiary. State records show the old contract — which started in 2005 — was worth roughly $387 million. The new contract is worth as much as $717 million after lottery officials exercised an option extending it until 2031.

IGT, which beat out one other company for the contract, is represented by some high-powered lobbyists including Bill Rubin, a longtime friend of Scott, and Brian Ballard, a Republican fundraiser and lobbyist who was Florida finance chairman for President Donald Trump.

Game over? House speaker sues Florida Lottery over contract 02/17/17 [Last modified: Friday, February 17, 2017 9:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  2. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    In their third year with pitching coach Neil Allen, the Twins have been one of the surprises of the American League.
  4. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond

    Crime

    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally