Part of the Bay Area News Group

California lottery cleans house

By sgeissinger
Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 at 4:13 pm in General.

California’s state-run lottery took what officials from the gambling operation and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office initially called a routine, regularly scheduled “housekeeping” step today.

Not.

In the end, it turned out creation of an Omnibus Lottery Regulations Act by the governor’s five-member, policy-setting commission was anything but “routine” or “regularly scheduled.”

The correct adjective would be “unprecedented.”

In an e-mail statement this morning to MediaNews, lottery spokeswoman Olga Gallardo said: “We’re not aware of any other time that an omnibus revision of the regulations has occurred at the lottery. These revisions were a result of a five-month review process, which revealed the current regulations were a haphazard piecemeal of over 22 years of changes by various commissions. The omnibus review created consistency among our regulations, allowing more comprehensible regulations for both lottery staff and the general public.”

Could all this have something to do with Schwarzenegger’s desire to privatize the lagging lottery? Or maybe there are a few hundred state employees who want to keep their jobs? Top officials aren’t talking.

The overhaul can be viewed at:
http://www.calottery.com/NR/rdonlyres/3A546854-C76F-4B5C-950B-EC9A45FA06FB/0/IssueMemo_9d.pdf

In a rather sweeping session, the commission also continued to retain DLA Piper, a global law firm that Lottery Director Joan Borucki said has expertise in trademarks and intellectual property.

Protecting those jewels for the lottery, or for a leaser-to-be?

Whatever the lottery’s future, it has need of good law firms as it continues its battle over making the multi-state Mega Millions lotto fully legal in California.

The lottery commission also approved new Sacramento district office and distribution center locations — which are now both housed in a huge headquarters building in the capital. The fate of the aging HQ is uncertain.

Maybe there won’t be a need for a state HQ?

The governor wants to privatize the lagging lottery as a way to maximize sales and bolster the one-third of total revenue it provides schools.

He believes he can lease out the gambling operation for a huge chunk of change, retaining overall state control, without a vote of the people who authorized the lottery — an assertion that has been challenged by Democratic lawmakers.

At the same time, in a twist that further confuses the matter, state officials at the lottery went ahead in June with adoption of an aggressive, three-year growth plan.

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