Senate passes bill to privatize lottery

The full Senate has given its approval to a bill that could privatize the state’s education lottery.  Sen. John Ford said the lottery has not made as much money for education as supporters had claimed.  He said privatization might create a more efficient operation.

“Senate Bill 2173 calls for the creation of an eight-person Oklahoma Lottery Asset Review Board to determine whether privatization could result in better revenues for education,” Ford said.  “If six of the eight members agree that it would and the governor then concurs with their findings, a private company would then take over the operation of the lottery.”

Ford, who represents Craig, Nowata and Washington Counties, said the state would still maintain ongoing oversight.  If the company failed to meet the terms and standards negotiated by the Lottery Asset Review Board, the state would terminate the contract.

“I personally voted against the lottery in 2004, and I’ve never bought a ticket, but the majority of Oklahoma voters said they wanted an education lottery,” Ford said.  “This measure is aimed at making sure our schools can get the maximum benefit while getting the state out of the gambling business.”

Ford said his legislation would not change the current distribution of the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund.  The measure now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.