June 14, 2004 – The V.I. Lottery has negotiated with Caribbean Lottery Services and the attorney general in a move that it hopes will bring money into the government coffers.
The government had been owed about $330,000 as its share of money for lottery operations in the Virgin Islands.
An official of Caribbean Lottery Services, the territory's primary lottery agent, had stated at a legislative hearing in April that CLS had experienced difficulty in collecting money from some lottery ticket vendors, making the company unable to pay the government its share of what was collected from vendors.
According to the terms of the CLS contract, the company was responsible only for paying the government its share on money it had collected from vendors.
After that hearing, representatives of CLS and the V.I. Lottery and the attorney general got together to renegotiate the contract.
Paul Flemming, V.I. Lottery executive director, said on Friday that the contract has been changed to specify that the government must be paid its share of all sales, whether CLS collects the money from its agents or not.
"It is simply an addendum to the existing contract," Todd Washington, CLS general manager, said, adding that his company will be working with the government to comply with it.
CLS's parent company, Leeward Islands Lottery Holding Co., was recently sold to Rhode Islands-based GTech Holdings Corp., which operates lotteries in Barbados, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago.
However, "Caribbean Lottery Services' contract with the government is still in place," Flemming said. He added that any changes that may take place as a result of the sale are expected to be positive for the territory.
"GTech is one of the largest lottery systems operating companies in the world," Washington said. He said that the change in ownership will mean improvements, especially in the area of technology.
Fleming said the V.I. Lottery also is seeking to make improvements to its own products. In recent meetings on all three islands, he discussed with dealers the status of the lottery and ways to improve the product base.
"We're attempting to correct internal problems," Flemming said. "We're looking at our product. That is our major concern."
Tickets sales have been moving slowly, Flemming said, and recently it has been necessary to put some winners on payment plans. But, contrary to rumors, he said, all its winners are being paid.
"Anyone who plays the Virgin Islands Lottery and wins will be paid," he said.
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