- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Lottery no longer will release banking and loan documents, vendor contracts and sales data of individual retailers after the lottery board passed a new public records policy.

The policy approved Monday also establishes fees for public documents that range from $1 a page to $35 per request for any computer time needed for a records request, the Casper Star-Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1D7vb38).

The Star-Tribune has submitted a number of records requests to the lottery under the assumption it is a semi-public organization that must adhere to the Wyoming Public Records Act. Gov. Matt Mead the lottery board and revenue eventually will be distributed to Wyoming cities, towns, counties and an education account.

Ahead of the meeting, Wyoming media attorney Bruce Moats wrote lottery officials on behalf of the Star-Tribune, arguing that most information needs to be public.

The lottery contends it is a private organization because it obtained a bank loan for startup costs.

“We have to have some kind of rule to establish some kind of organized fashion in which we can address the public - who, when, where and why,” board Chairman Mark Macy said after Monday’s vote. “Our staff seems to be spending quite a bit of time on that issue. We’d like for them to concentrate more on the lottery work but at the same time have a balance of getting these records to the people who request them.”

Vendor contracts that need to remain confidential include agreements with companies such as Cheyenne-based marketing firm Warehouse Twenty One and Intralot, a provider of software and technical support, lottery officials say. Not disclosing those contracts saves the lottery money because it helps retain the contractors’ competitive advantage, said Macy.

“To be competitive, they don’t want you to disclose how good of a deal sometimes they are giving us so they can stay competitive with their other clients,” Macy said.

The lottery based its fee schedule for public records requests on Wyoming Department of Revenue public records requirements, said lottery Chief Operations Officer Louise Plata.

People will be charged a minimum of $35 per request for any computer time, production of any record or computer programming necessary to address a records request.

The lottery will charge the media and other members of the public $1 a page for the first 10 pages of public documents. It will charge 30 cents a page for each additional page.

The lottery board discussed the policy during an hour-long executive session. The board members then reconvened in public and voted on the policy with little discussion.

Macy, however, remarked that the lottery staff had been “inundated” with public records requests.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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