Keno, lottery privatization could come before Pennsylvania Senate
HARRISBURG — There is “broad support” among Senate Republicans to give the governor authority for a private company to manage the state lottery and legalize electronic games such as keno to boost state revenue, the Senate majority leader said on Monday.
But quick action in the Legislature appears unlikely, said Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County. He didn't rule out a vote on Tuesday but noted long odds against that happening. Many senators want further vetting.
The Senate's last scheduled day of the year is Wednesday. The 2013-14 session continues in January.
Since last year, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has pushed to boost lottery profit and revenue for senior programs by hiring Camelot, a British company that runs the United Kingdom's lottery. The company's eighth contract extension expires near the end of December, said Corbett's spokesman, Jay Pagni.
Corbett's plan to privatize management of the lottery stalled because of objections from the union representing lottery employees, and a ruling from Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane in February that the state could not use the fast-paced game keno without legislative approval.
There appears to be agreement among that union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Corbett administration on keeping most state lottery employees' jobs, Pileggi and Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa said.
A looming state deficit of at least $800 million might be driving interest, Pileggi acknowledged.
“It's no secret we have a very difficult budget” in 2014, he said.
Pileggi would like to combine keno and casino gambling tax money to provide a property tax freeze for senior citizens.
Word of the union's revised stance on a lottery contract spread last week, but the idea that keno may be part of a plan seemingly surfaced out of the blue on Monday.
Costa of Forest Hills said a contract with Camelot now would be substantially different from what was proposed and would need to be reopened for bids. Camelot's plan was predicated upon using games such as keno to expand revenue.
Costa had said the Senate Appropriations Committee could vote as soon as Monday, but by day's end, Pileggi's office said a vote was off. Lawmakers might take up the issue in 2014, he said.
Corbett faces re-election next year, and at least eight Democrats are vying for his job.
The General Assembly last month approved expanding small games of chance from clubs and fraternal organizations to include bars and taverns. Corbett signed that bill.
The Senate last week approved a resolution directing a legislative research panel to study ways to enhance revenue from commercial gambling. The resolution was sponsored by the Senate's top elected Republican, Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County.
There's some debate among senators whether Pennsylvania is “saturated” with legalized gambling but not to the point of killing a keno proposal, Pileggi said.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Polamalu enters training camp as Steelers’ longest tenured player
- Starkey: Pirates, Burnett could work again
- Phone scam from Jamaica reported in Allegheny County
- Pirates notebook: Phillies’ Burnett not demanding trade
- U.S. proposes tougher rules for moving crude oil, ethanol by rail
- Selig: Pirates’ rebirth a positive step for baseball
- Drive-thru window sees major change at Monroeville fast-food restaurant
- Pop star Perry brings high-energy world tour to Consol
- Plane crashes in Taiwan, 47 trapped, feared dead
- Dick’s cuts PGA professionals as golf business declines
- Outfielder Polanco driving force for Pirates in victory over Dodgers