New Jersey is asking lottery companies to bid for the right to run the state's massive game of chance.

It would cost the winning bidder $120 million up front and a share of profits annually, according to The Asbury Park Press which first reported on the plan. But the winner could make more than $1 billion over the course of a contract that would run from next year until 2029.

Gov. Jon Corzine's administration explored the idea of letting a private company run the lottery, which is the nation's 8th largest.

A task force recommended the change to Gov. Chris Christie last year.

Illinois outsourced its lottery operations last year and other states are looking into doing it soon.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)