PA Ends Pursuit of Hiring British Lottery Firm

Dec 30, 2013

The Corbett administration will not extend a British firm’s bid to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Camelot Global Services’ bid to take over management of the lottery will expire Dec. 31.

The bid has been extended numerous times since the company’s deal with the commonwealth, originally announced in January, entered a limbo-like state after being rejected by the state’s attorney general.

“As we move forward, we will take what we’ve learned to make our successful lottery even better--expanding the player and retailer base, improving player loyalty, and implementing strategies that will grow our lottery, responsibly and efficiently,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a statement.

The state’s Auditor General said fees paid to legal and financial consultants during the lifetime of the bid have exceeded $4.5 million. But the governor’s spokesman Jay Pagni says it’s not money down the drain.

"We view these as an investment and we will take what we’ve learned to grow our lottery for seniors," Pagni said. 

However, Pagni acknowledged that no changes have been implemented as a result of the consultations and added the administration isn’t giving up on its push to grow the lottery’s revenues.

But state Sen. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) disagreed, saying that money could have been spent on senior programs including Meals on Wheels.  

"This is a lot of wasted money that in these tough economic times we need to spend on taxpayer-related programs — not on consultants,” he said.

The Corbett administration has said it may need to start over on a privatization deal. State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) said he wants to work with the Corbett administration to make the lottery more productive.

“It's done very well, over a billion dollars in profit last year — one of the most efficient lotteries in the country, but as our senior population continues to grow, we need more revenue, make it more profitable, so we need to implement strategies that will keep Pennsylvania jobs, keep the Pennsylvania Lottery right where it belongs and that’s in the public’s hand,” Yudichak said.

State lawmakers have recently begun considering legislation to pave the way for a partial outsourcing of lottery management.