Government & Politics
2:01 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

PA Atty. Gen. Spikes Lottery Deal

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane says Corbett administration's deal to privatize the Lottery violates the state's constitution.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane says Corbett administration's deal to privatize the Lottery violates the state's constitution.
Credit Capitol Media Services

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has rejected the proposed Lottery contract with Camelot Global Services saying it violates the Pennsylvania Constitution.  Further, the AG says the contract oversteps the statutes that govern gambling when it proposes the expansion of the lottery to include keno.

The AG’s office is required to review state contracts for ‘form and legality.’ It has sent a memo to the Chief Counsel for the Department of Revenue outlining the reasons for the rejection of the contract. 

Specifically the memo says, “The Executive Branch exceeded its authority under Article II, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution by unlawfully infringing on the General Assembly’s power to make basic policy choices regarding the management and operation of the Lottery.” 

It goes on to say “the development of monitor-based or other electronic games, such as keno, is not authorized by the State Lottery Act and usurps the authority granted by the General Assembly to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.”

Finally the AG argues, “Allowing Camelot to be indemnified for “indirect expenses,” as provided in the PMA (Professional Management Agreement), is an unconstitutional waiver of the doctrine of sovereign immunity as set forth in Article I, Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.” 

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is applauding the decision for less-legal reasons.

“The Attorney General made a proper decision,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). “Pennsylvania seniors all Pennsylvania residents can rest easy now that the Attorney General took this action and put a stop to the expansion of gaming without proper authorization.”

State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) echoed Costa’s praise and then took shots at the assumed motivation the privatization deal.

“We do not need a foreign-based company managing the operations of the Lottery when we have Pennsylvania residents with the ability to produce more dollars to bolster senior programs.”  Said Hughes.  “The AFSCME study indicated that there were many pathways available for Pennsylvania officials to take to generate new dollars without privatizing the Lottery.”

State Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) praised Kane for her legal work and then began to look to the future.

“If the governor chooses to pursue his privatization scheme further, I hope the process is more open and transparent. The many seniors who rely on Lottery programs deserve no less.”

Democrats blasted the governor’s office for not holding enough hearings or opening the process to more public scrutiny. 

In the past the Corbett administration has responded to such criticism by listing the various opportunities lawmakers had to give their input during  the process.

On Thursday, Governor Tom Corbett released the following statement in regards to Kane's announcement:

“I'm deeply disappointed. I don't agree with the attorney general’s analysis and decision, and we will review our legal options.  My job is to protect Pennsylvania’s seniors, and we will continue to do that.  We have a growing population where one in four Pennsylvanians will be over the age of 65 by 2017. My goal is to ensure that funding for senior programs keeps pace with that growth.”