House Speaker Mike Madigan presented a bill yesterday that would allow Illinois to be the first state in the nation to lease its lottery, in exchange for billions of dollars for a statewide capital construction program. The governor has said that leasing the lottery could raise as much as $10 billion. Without an actual offer on the table, though, that number is hard to verify.
But Madigan, who has no love for the governor, wants to make sure there are firm checks and balances built into any lease of the state lottery. Reportedly the terms of any lease must be approved by both State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, opponents of the governor. Still, Blago is OK with the plan. "We don't see any problem with that. It's a good first step for them to at least agree in substance with leasing the lottery," said a spokesperson for the governor's office.