- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is “satisfied” with the performance of the private company that manages its lottery sales and marketing, the state treasurer said Wednesday as he defended the contract to lawmakers.

Christie entered a 15-year contract with Northstar in 2013 to oversee parts of the state’s lottery - called the Division of Lottery within the treasury - but revenues have been missing projections.

Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff told Assembly lawmakers Wednesday the company has still achieved some results, such as creating 130 private-sector jobs.

“Let me dispel whatever suspense there may be: Less than two years into a complex 15-year contracting relationship, the Division is satisfied with Northstar’s performance,” Sidamon-Eristoff said.

The statements come as an industry-wide decline in lottery sales affects the country, the treasurer said.

“It is a simple fact that consumer demand for these games is waning, most notably among casual players with respect to large jackpots,” he said.

New Jersey’s neighbors, however, have seen revenue rise from 2013 to 2014, with the New York lottery’s net revenues climbing $292 million to $9.23 billion and the Pennsylvania lottery rising about $14 million to $1.08 billion.

Sidamon-Eristoff also added that New Jersey and other states are experiencing “jackpot fatigue,” which he said means lotteries must offer ever bigger payouts to draw in casual players.

The administration had expected getting about $1.04 billion in revenues in the current fiscal year, but it revised expectations down to $955 million.

Sidamon-Eristoff pointed out the contract calls for performance standards and financial guarantees and said the administration would protect taxpayers’ long-term interests.

The Democrat-led Legislature objected to contract, but Christie vetoed a bill that would have given lawmakers the power to block the deal.

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