State could sell Arizona Lottery to deal with expected 2009 deficit

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal, Mike Sunnucks] – – Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said Wednesday the state could face a budget deficit next year of as much as $800 million and one option to close that gap is selling or leasing out the Arizona Lottery. Napolitano said the state likely will face another budget shortfall of between $320 million and $800 million. Others, including the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, project a $1 billion-plus deficit.

The governor said the state can use reserve funds and will continue a hiring freeze of nonessential workers and take the remaining $120 million out of the Rainy Day Fund. The Governor’s Office said the sale or lease of the Arizona Lottery is presently just an option for consideration. The current budget plan allows for the Lottery to do more advertising to boost sales.