As the December 31st deadline nears for Pennsylvania to respond to a British company's bid the state’s largest employees’ union and the Alliance for Retired Americans are teaming up to stop the privatization of the lottery.
The Corbett administration is considering a bid from Camelot Global Services, which promises to produce more than $34 billion over 20 years as the state looks into expanding into online gambling and Kino.
David Fillman, Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 13, said they are worried about Camelot’s need to make a profit.
“I can’t fault them for that but right now this is a non-profit organization,” said Fillman. The administrative costs to run the lottery with all the two hundred plus employees and everything that goes with field office and operation is only 2.3 percent of a $3.4 billion (annual) operation.”
Lottery sales are up 8.5 percent from last year, with more than $1 billion in revenues invested in senior services.
Governor Corbett said in November that privatization will only happen if the state can guarantee more money for itself.
Fillman said a private company wouldn’t know the state like current Lottery employees do.
“So those 170 of my members, 220 total that work in the Lottery division, are very intimately aware of the Pennsylvania geography, the demographics, who’s going to be in the mom and pop delis servicing those areas,” said Fillman. “Camelot is not coming onto the ground; they’re coming from a foreign country.”
Pennsylvania’s Lottery is run by the Department of Revenue. If Camelot's bid is accepted, the department will retain 70 employees and the remaining would be able to interview with the company.
The Corbett administration believes it has the legal authority to expand the state’s lottery without legislative approval, but State Treasurer Rob McCord and Senate lawyers disagree.