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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Should PA Lottery be privatized?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 16, 2013 3:09 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, January 17:

Lottery window sign 300 x 170.jpg

Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed contracting with a private company to operate the Pennsylvania Lottery.  The idea is to find ways to generate more money -- that's even though the lottery produced a record $3.5 billion last year.

In fact, the governor has gone beyond the proposal stage.  Last week, the Corbett Administration issued a "notice of award" to Camelot Global Services -- a British company that runs the United Kingdom's National Lottery.  Camelot was the lone bidder and guarantees they will generate more than $34 billion for the Pennsylvania Lottery over the next 20 years.

Lottery sales are especially important because Pennsylvania's population is getting older and proceeds from the lottery pay for services for seniors like reduced fare or free public transportation, property tax and rent rebates, and low-cost prescription drugs.  Gov. Corbett said on Radio Smart Talk two weeks ago that the aging population is the reason for privatizing the lottery.  Even though the lottery set records the last two years, the Administration says it failed to reach profit goals in four of the last eight years.

The pending deal with Camelot has set off a storm of controversy.  A number of legislators have complained the bid didn't get enough public scrutiny or comment, that the lottery is successful and doesn't need a fix, and that more than a hundred union workers could lose their jobs.  Council 13 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union has filed suit against the move. 

We'll hear the pros and cons of privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery on Thursday's Radio Smart Talk. 

Appearing will be David Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 and Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation.

Listen to the program:


David Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 and Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation.


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  • Rick Dawber img 2013-01-16 18:10

    This is not something that should be privatized. The Corbet administration has had it's own agenda since it's inception. The PA lottery is one of the best and most successful in the nation, and it works just fine.... there is no need to fix it. Corbett has been tapping into the lottery's funds for his on agenda "to balance the budget for the DPW" to the tune of some 100 million, Corbett should be ousted from office.... he is no good, and I am really really sorry I voted for him!!

  • Lisa img 2013-01-17 09:11

    Why is Governor Corbett outsourcing to a foreign company? How many Pennyslvanians are losing their jobs to this British company?

  • rtrepanner img 2013-01-17 09:20

    We know what the union's interests are in this situation. What I would like to know is who funds the Commonwealth Foundation. Do they receive any form of financial support from Camelot or organizations linked to them?

  • gallagher img 2013-01-17 09:29

    According to the AP story in my Lancaster newspaper this morning, a company (GTECH, a RI company)that dropped it's pursuit of the lottery contract cited two reasons: 1. The governor's office wasn't answering their questions (what the heck is that about?)and 2. Submitting a business plan prior to seeing a final copy of the agreement was unfair. Their complaints were listed in a letter dated Nov 6 and delivered to Corbett's advisor. It sure seems like Corbett wanted to go with Camelot for personal reasons. I for one was also outraged that he so quickly outsourced the contract. Given our tough economy why not award the contract to an American company???

  • Robert D Colgan img 2013-01-17 09:30

    Privatization doesn't mean that the people of Pennsylvania no longer own their own gambling casino--------it just means that they have hired people who are not Pennsylvanians to run it and take profits from it so those profits no longer are Pennsylvanian, or even American.

    Corbett has established himself as a friend to profiteers-----not a protector of the commonwealth of the people of PA.
    What's "fair" to the king isn't the same as "fair" to the citizens.
    He plays to a rich audience.

  • Caleb img 2013-01-17 09:43

    One of the basic rules of life is "If it looks or sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is."

  • jccarl img 2013-01-17 09:44

    The Commonwealth Foundation is described as a "free-market think tank", whatever that is. Looks to me like Gov Corbett has outsourced policy to this outfit, since this Nathan Benefield apparently apeaks with authority for the Administration. I love the attitude that this unilateral action with so many questions isn't even worth discussing by an ELECTED official, or one APPOINTED by an elected official. Boy is he a fast talker!!!