Chris Essig

Walkthroughs, tips and tricks from a data journalist in eastern Iowa

State makes first steps to privatize the lottery

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With the legislature off for two weeks, our bureau thought it was high time to put an in-depth series of stories. My bureau chief decided to look a very hot issue as of late: privatizing the Illinois lottery. Lawmakers have been contemplating the move for a few years, with interest peeking in 2007. But last year, the General Assembly made baby steps towards privatizing the lottery. As a result, we dived into the issue. All three of us in the bureau worked on the series. We had five stories in all:

  1. State looks for big payoff with privatized lottery (Herald & Review)
  2. Lottery a steady cash cow (The Southern Illinoisan)
  3. Government privatization grows in economic downturn (Quad-City Times)
  4. State wants Feds to OK online ticket sales (Pantagraph)
  5. Reputation dogs officials seeking proposals (Herald & Review)

I worked on the “Government privatization grows in economic downturn” story. Basically, I looked at other privatization efforts in the Midwest, and what they meant for customers. I also put together two graphs to help illustrate the economic impact of the Illinois Lottery:

—–

Link.

The graphs were easy to make using Google Documents. Google literally has an answer for anything.

The issue of lottery privatization will probably remain a hot story for the next few years because it is a very long and drawn out process. And, obviously, the state could choose not to privatize it. So it will be interesting to see where Illinois, and other governments, goes from here. Regardless, I would expect to hear more about privatization in the coming months and years as more entities face the harsh realities of an economic downturn.

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Written by csessig

April 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

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