State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Potential Lottery privatization timetable begins to buckle

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 20, 2012 3:36 PM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Word came this week that the Corbett administration is considering extending the deadline of the private bid on the Pennsylvania Lottery, meaning a decision wouldn’t be due by the end of the year.

On Thursday, Governor Corbett says his office is thinking about holding a hearing on the matter.

The recent cracks in the administration’s resolve to lease the Lottery come amid steady streams of criticism over the pending deal.

Gene Stilp, a government reform activist and former congressional candidate, brought props to the Capitol Thursday to show his distrust of the privatization talks. He gestured to a few huge, fake Lottery tickets.

“Instead of the Sweet Winnings,” said Stilp, referring to a $2 scratch-off ticket, “we have the Bittersweet Losings for Senior Citizens.” Critics of privatization say the deal could mean less, not more profits for the Lottery, which funds programs for the elderly.

Stilp is a veteran gadfly known for buzzing around the Capitol with large visual aides, but other voices of dissent are joining the mix – like the Republican chairman of the state Senate Finance Committee, Mike Brubaker. The Lancaster County senator said in a statement Thursday there should be public hearings on a Lottery privatization deal before it’s finalized.

At his event on Thursday, Stilp said the administration should slow down its evaluation of the private bid on the Lottery by Britain-based company Camelot Global Services PA.

The Associated Press reports the administration has already extended another deadline for the union representing some of the Lottery’s employees to submit its own counter-proposal. The new due date is January 8.

Corbett was asked at an unrelated event Thursday if the extension for the union means his administration expects to extend the bid on the Lottery past December.

“I’ll let you draw the conclusion,” said Corbett.

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