State House Sound Bites

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

McCord says may refuse payments to lottery, even with AG's sign-off

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 24, 2013 10:21 PM
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Photo by www.palottery.state.pa.us

The state treasurer said Thursday that he hasn’t made a decision on whether he’ll throw a wrench into plans to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery by withholding payments to Camelot Global Services.

“Right now I certainly am taking a look at this with increasing concern,” said Rob McCord, saying he was still weighing whether to refuse to distribute funds to the private bidder that landed a deal with the Corbett administration.

The Democratic treasurer alerted the Corbett administration last month he was wary about expanding lottery games by way of a contract instead of going through the Legislature. He said his concerns haven’t subsided when it comes to Camelot’s plans to add thousands of keno terminals and, eventually, online games to the lottery. McCord said he’s leaning toward thinking the Legislature should be more “involved” in such a change to the lottery’s game offerings. The governor’s office insists it has the authority to add to lottery games without the Legislature’s approval.

He said he may withhold payments for the lottery even if the deal gets past the state attorney general’s office, which has a few more weeks to review the contract.

“I do know I have previously run into a situation where the attorney general says, ‘The contract looks legal to me,’ and we’re like, ‘Fine, yes, the contract looks legal, but we’re not allowed to make this payment because of the statute,’” said McCord. “And we basically prevailed in that context previously.”

The treasurer’s spokesman said a final decision from McCord on whether to disburse payments wouldn’t necessarily hinge on the attorney general’s review of the contract – it could even wait until the actual roll-out of keno games.

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