Christie deal gives NJ lottery to Italy gambling billionaire, Perelman

Ron Perelman

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's planned private outsourcing of the state-run New Jersey lottery - see my colleague Matt Katz's story here -- would benefit two big gambling companies controlled by out-of-state billionaires.

Christie's pick for the job, the Northstar lottery group, which already runs the struggling Illinois state lottery, includes:

- Gtech Holdings, based in Providence, Rhode Island, and owned by Lottomatica Group S.p.A., which runs the Italian national lottery and is majority-controlled by Italian billionaire Marco Drago's De Agostini S.p.A. investment group, with a 53% stake, worth more than $2 billion;

- Scientific Games Corp., New York, a publicly-traded company whose major owner is Ronald Owen Perelman, the New York-based, Elkins Park-raised (corrected) billionaire owner of MacAndrews & Forbes, Revlon and many other companies. Perelman owns a 38% stake worth around $300 million.

The Gtech-Scientific Games partnership pledged $120 million as a cash reserve, to guarantee state income against a shortfall (which happened to Northstar in Illinois), to win Gov. Christie's support.

Ironically, Gtech cited Pennsylvania's $200 million deposit requirement as a reason for dropping out of bidding to run Pennsylvania's lottery.

Pa. Gov. Gov. Tom Corbett's aides chose the only remaining bidder, U.K.-based Camelot Global Services, to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery after Camelot's owner, the Ontario (Canada) Teachers Pension Program, agreed to commit $150 million and lend another $50 million.

Scientific Games provides ticketing services to the Pa. lottery, among its other clients.

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