AFSCME says contracting lottery to overseas company 'defies logic'
HARRISBURG — Privatizing management of the state's $3.5 billion-a-year lottery is a “complex and highly risky” proposal, the union representing 175 state lottery employees said Tuesday.
The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 13 filed its counterproposal to stave off privatization, saying it ”defies logic” to bring in a British company to do what lottery workers do for less.
The lottery is capable of aggressive campaigns to boost revenue, the union said. Its proposal is allowed under its collective bargaining agreement with the state, which has 10 days to consider it.
Elizabeth Brassell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, which oversees the lottery, said she would not comment until the department reviews the plan.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is considering a bid from Camelot Global Services, which promises $34 billion in profit over 20 years, to run the lottery and increase money for senior citizen programs. The lottery pays for low-cost prescription drugs and rebates on rent and property tax.
“Camelot has put forth a bid that would guarantee the economic future for senior programs, while transferring risk from taxpayers to the private sector,” said a statement issued by spokesman David La Torre. “ It is truly a win-win and is backed by $200 million of guaranteed money. The proposal put forward (by the union) is based on targets. Not a single dollar is guaranteed.”
Anticipated growth of Pennsylvania's senior population during the next decade will require more money to maintain programs, Corbett has said.
State programs the Legislature and governors added have expanded at twice the rate of lottery funding, the union said. That's partly why problems might occur down the road, said Kristie Wolf-Maloney, a union official.
The addition of keno terminals in bars and restaurants is one way that Camelot, which runs the United Kingdom's National Lottery, would boost profit. That presents a potential showdown with the Legislature, which believes it should OK any expansion of legalized gambling.
The union does not object to adding keno games, said David Fillman, executive director of AFSCME Council 13.
“We think we are capable of providing that service,” Fillman said.
The union contends the 42-year-old lottery during the past two decades developed an “over-reliance” on instant games. Those games have lower profit margins than terminal games such as The Daily Number, Powerball and Mega Millions. The union proposed shifting to more terminal games.
The state and Camelot extended consideration of the company's bid to Thursday; another extension is possible, state officials said.
The council has a lawsuit pending to block the privatization proposal. The state Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal Monday.
The union was unable to determine how much profit Camelot would reap from a management contract, said Michael Fedor, a union official.
Brassell said that depends on the profit Camelot produces for the state.
Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- 2 from Carrick charged in connection with rash of heroin overdoses
- Police confiscated cellphone of driver who struck 7-year-old girl Thursday
- Justice halts religious groups’ birth control opt-out role
- Trib Total Media Outstanding Young Citizen Awards presents scholarship, 10 gold medals
- Heinz Endowments looks to smart urban planning for Pittsburgh moment
- Teachers union advises lawyers for colleagues of Plum pair investigated on sex charges
- Several hurt in multi-car crash on Route 51
- Lawsuit: Pittsburgh Public Schools should have known officer was abusing boys
- Voters wishing to cast ballot in May 19 primary must register by Monday
- Pittsburgh is 1st in North America to use instant asphalt device
- Pitt, Penn State faculty found to receive better-than-average pay