State House Sound Bites

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

Lottery bid extended, administration mum on potential appeal

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 22, 2013 3:32 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

This post has been updated to reflect consultants to the commonwealth.

The bid to take over the Pennsylvania Lottery is being extended through mid-March, giving the Corbett administration the full 30 days it is allotted to challenge the state attorney general’s rejection of the privatization deal.

Extensions of the bid by British firm Camelot Global Services have come in dribs and drabs since the proposal first began to hit opposition late last year. This latest extension is for more than three weeks, ending March 18 – two days later than the March 16 deadline for the Corbett administration to decide whether it will appeal Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s rejection of the contract to turn lottery operations over to Camelot.

“Both sides are still considering what all the options are,” said Elizabeth Brassell, a spokeswoman for the Revenue Department, which oversees the lottery. “So we have essentially bought a little bit more time to consider whether an appeal is appropriate or what our next steps might be.”

The two consulting groups working for the administration on the deal, Greenhill & Co. and DLA Piper (which also used a sub-contractor, Kroll Advisory Solutions), aren’t collecting money as the bid is prolonged, according to Brassell.

“Neither of the commonwealth’s advisors have received compensation,” she said. “Their compensation depends on whether or not a [contract] is executed. So there’s not really any hard costs with extending the bid.”

Camelot has already gotten back the $50 million security deposit binding it to the deal.

Kane struck down the contract last week, calling it illegal and unconstitutional.

Several state lawmakers from both parties praised the move. Many of them are skeptical of the executive branch’s power to seal a deal that would add keno and online gaming to the lottery without legislative approval.

Democratic state lawmakers and the union representing lottery employees are still suing the Corbett administration to block the privatization effort.

Brassell suggested it’s unlikely the Corbett administration will make a decision on the potential appeal of the contract rejection before the March 16 deadline.

“I don’t know that we’re going to have much more to offer before mid-March,” she said.

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