The Corbett administration has once again delayed a decision on whether to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery until Friday, January 11. The one-day extension of the bid by Camelot Global Services will allow talks to continue between the British-based company and the Corbett administration for an even longer-term delay.
This is the second time Camelot’s bid on Lottery operations has been extended. The announcement comes days before the January 14 state Senate hearing on the pending plans for the Lottery. The Finance Committee hearing was called for by lawmakers displeased with the amount of information they received about the potential deal.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Mike Brubaker, a Lancaster County Republican, said he’s concerned there would be an end to the current practice of sending all Lottery proceeds to senior programs.
“If we have a much larger and robust revenue stream in the future, whether those additional dollars… will continue to be dedicated exclusively to older Pennsylvanians,” said Brubaker.
Camelot has promised $34 billion in profits from the Lottery over the next 20 years if it’s able to expand the selection of games available to the public.
Brubaker said his colleagues in the Senate have questions about whether the profits guaranteed by Camelot would actually materialize, and what the consequences would be if they didn’t.
The Senate Finance Committee would have no power over the bid evaluation process – rather, Brubaker said the purpose of Monday’s hearing the purpose is to publicly vet the plan to lease the Lottery’s operations and expand games.
“I’m open to privatizing governmental services that can indeed be privatized and can be made more efficient and productive and profitable,” said Brubaker, “but now the question is: is that the proposal that the administration is considering?”
The first extension of Camelot’s bid came because the administration still needed to receive a counter-proposal from the union representing a portion of Lottery employees.
In the AFSCME Council 13 proposal, submitted earlier this week, the union said it could increase Lottery revenues by more than Camelot’s claims – if it were allowed to add more Lottery games.