New Jersey Lottery and Northstar Group Missing Targets

Wednesday April 1st 2015

Two years after Governor Chris Christie privatized the New Jersey Lottery and handed over control of its operation to Northstar New Jersey, the organization is consistently missing its sales targets, leading to a potential loss of vital income for the good causes it supports.

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In the last fiscal year, Northstar failed to meet the income targets set out in its contract with the state by $55 million. In response, Christie and his administration lowered the goals to prevent the company from facing millions of dollars worth of penalties. The state expected to receive more than $1 billion from the New Jersey Lottery this year, but a budget statement released this month lowered that figure to $955 million. It’s estimated that the organization raised just $510 million seven months into the current fiscal year, meaning that it’s unlikely to hit the billion mark as expected.

The handover itself wasn’t without controversy - the state legislature passed a law in mid-2013 forbidding the governor from privatizing the lottery without their consent, but Christie vetoed this measure, paving the way for Northstar to take the reins in October 2013.

Similar issues have occurred in two other states where Northstar is responsible for operating lotteries. Both the Illinois Lottery and the Hoosier Lottery in Indiana have fallen short of their sales targets in the last year. The Illinois Lottery terminated its contract with the group in October 2014, but state attorney General Lisa Madigan blocked the move in January of this year, arguing that the terms of the agreement would bear a heavy cost to state taxpayers and were illegal.

When New Jersey residents play games like Jersey Cash 5, Pick-6 Xtra or Cash4Life, they help provide revenue for educational initiatives, veterans’ affairs and human services. When the state lottery raises less money than expected, the operating budgets for these good causes will suffer. When you fund your own dreams by playing New Jersey Powerball or instant win games, you can fulfill the goals and hopes of millions of other state residents. Visit the New Jersey Lottery page to find out more about how to play and what you could win while supporting vital public initiatives.

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