STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - LUNCH EDITION - TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

LOTTERY NET PROFITS RUNNING $16 MIL ABOVE FY 2013

Massachusetts Lottery sales in May were up $7 million compared to the same month last year, officials reported Tuesday during a monthly Lottery Commission meeting in Boston. Over the first 11 months of the fiscal year, net profits are running $16.1 million ahead of last year's pace. While sales were up, the prize payout was also higher at 72.17 percent compared to the 68.75 percent payout from last May. The high prize payout for the month pushed the year-to-date prize payout up to 72.15 percent, which still falls below the fiscal year 2014 rate that was budgeted at 72.3 percent. Instant ticket sales were up $33 million in May, boosted by the introduction in April of the $30 World Class Millions ticket. Powerball took a $22 million drop in sales last month, which featured a $100 million jackpot versus the May 2013 jackpot of more than $590 million. Sales were also down last month for Mega Millions and Lucky for Life. - C. Quinn/SHNS

RACINO LICENSEE DISAPPOINTED, BUT SAYS "FULL STEAM AHEAD"

Penn National Gaming, which was awarded a license in February to install slot machines at Plainridge Racecourse, expressed disappointment in the Supreme Judicial Court's decision Tuesday to allow a casino repeal question on the November ballot, but said it was confident that voters would preserve the law. "While we are disappointed by today's decision, we remain confident that Massachusetts voters will want to protect the thousands of new jobs and the hundreds of millions in annual tax revenues that our new industry will generate, in addition to recapturing over $1 billion being wagered by Mass residents in neighboring states each year," Eric Schippers, senior vice president of government affairs at Penn National, said in a statement. "Our fight to protect jobs and preserve this economic development opportunity for Massachusetts begins today. Construction on the Plainridge Park Casino remains full steam ahead and we continue to anticipate a June 2015 opening." - M. Norton/SHNS

SENATE READIES $929 MILLION TECHNOLOGY BOND

A $929 million borrowing bill for information technology projects is being readied for debate in the Senate on Thursday, with money included in the bill for school broadband access and improvements at the state Lottery. According to clerks, the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday morning was polling a redrafted version of the bill, which was released from the Senate Bonding Committee on Monday. Before adjourning Tuesday, the Senate set a deadline of 3 p.m. on Wednesday for amendments to be filed in advance of Thursday's session, when a welfare reform bill will also be before the Senate. The bond bill includes $300 million for state-financed IT projects, $60 million for the state Lottery Commission, $50 million for the Massachusetts Broadband Incentive Fund, $38 million for public school district broadband access grants, and $9 million for the state's second active data center, according to a summary of the bill. The bill also contains $12 million for a data system to track diagnosis, treatment, services and outcomes of people with autism, and $100 million for information technology improvements at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, $140 million for federally reimbursable IT projects and $220 million for "self-supporting" information technology. The House passed a version of the IT bond bill (H 3330) unanimously last November. State labor and health insurance information technology projects have run into major problems in recent months, prompting calls for better oversight to protect taxpayers and deliver needed services. The bill would centralize information technology projects and their planning and coordination under the information technology division of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and includes best practices to minimize the scope of projects and increase competition among vendors. - M. Murphy/SHNS