State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Corbett sends Camelot lottery contract to attorney general

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 17, 2013 2:42 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

A contract to hand over the operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a private British firm is now in the hands of the state attorney general, starting a 30-day clock. That’s how long Attorney General Kathleen Kane has to review the at least 20-year deal signed by the Corbett administration.

The governor said he doesn’t expect the recently inaugurated Democratic attorney general to hold up the process.

“When I was attorney general, on contracts that if we saw a potential problem with the contract, we worked with them to get the contract fixed,” said Corbett at an announcement in Hershey, Dauphin County. “I believe we would be able to work things out because we feel strongly that the contract is a legal contract and that we have the authority.”

The state retains control of the lottery under the agreement. State Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser said concerns that the state will be forced to “buy back” the Pennsylvania Lottery from Camelot Global Services if the promised profits don’t materialize are wrong.

“There are many means within the contract, many safeguards to assure that we would simply transition back to how the lottery presently exists,” said Meuser.

Camelot has promised 34 billion dollars in profits for the lottery over the life of the deal, an annual increase of three to four percent over current profits. The guarantee is based on plans to expand lottery games to include keno terminals within the first year of the contract’s execution and online gaming after five years.

The state treasurer is among those that think such an expansion could be illegal unless it comes with the approval of the Legislature. Rob McCord has said he may withhold disbursements needed for the lottery’s operation. The union representing some lottery employees has sued the commonwealth over the deal.

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