by Max Brantley
With Gerard Matthews following the the current health discussion at Children's Hospital, I'm relying on Capsearch for reports from this afternoon's lottery commission meeting.
They report that Scientific Games will get the scratch-off ticket contract for a bid of 1.75 percent of sales, against a little more than 1.9 percent from the next closest bidder.
Voting is about to begin on the marketing contract, which pits combines led by The Communications Group and the Ramey Agency. Commission Chairman Ray Thornton has recused from the vote because of his relationship to the Stephens family, which has an ownership interest in the Jackson, Miss.-based Ramey Agency.
UPDATE: It's done. Commission voted for The Communications Group. It heard from Gary Lay, one of the disqualfied bidders, that his firm had filed an appeal of his firm's disqualifcation with the state Finance and Administration Department. Here's the letter. Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue said an appeal wasn't possible.
The Commission also finalized a deal to make its permanent home in the old Union National Bank building. (CORRECTION. I originally wrote the building was owned by the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System. APERS sold it to private investors in 2007.)
UPDATE II: A typical, ignorant Arkie sorehead comments:
The South Carolina lottery has moved wholesale to AR. All three major vendors have ties to South Carolina. Intralot, the current SC vendor for online, has won the AR contract. Scientific Games, the current SC vendor for instant tickets, has taken the AR contract. The Communications Group, who partnered with the SC firm that was [once] awarded a SC advertising contract, has won the AR prize. It would have saved a lot of time and energy if Ernie P. and his Palmetto band would have just sole sourced the contracts to his vendors of choice.
PS: Somebody with a better memory than mine and who was there says the S.C. ad firm Chernoff/Newman takes one of its names from Marvin Chernoff, who, along with current vp Rick Silver, were media advisors to Bill Clinton in his first race for governor in 1978. Small world.