Corbett tries to delay deadline on bid to privatize state lottery operation
Gov. Tom Corbett's administration said it is trying to extend a Monday deadline to approve the lone bid to run the $3.5 billion-a-year state lottery.
As criticism intensifies against an attempt to privatize the operation, lawyers from the Department of Revenue and Camelot Global Services are negotiating an extension on Camelot's bid to run the lottery.
Revenue officials want United Kingdom-based Camelot to extend the deadline by two to three weeks to allow time for a union counter-offer and for the administration to participate in a mid-January Senate hearing on the proposal, Revenue spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said on Friday.
The union representing lottery workers has until Jan. 8 to issue its offer, and the state has 10 days to respond.
A spokesman for Camelot, the lone bidder for the lottery, said talks are continuing. He declined to comment further.
The attempt to postpone the deadline comes as critics, including Auditor General Jack Wagner, said the deal needs scrutiny.
Camelot, which runs the U.K.'s lottery, has guaranteed the state $34 billion over 20 years. Its bid includes an expansion of lottery games, but few details about the deal are public, Wagner said.
The state lottery posted $3.5 billion in sales last year and provided $1 billion for programs aiding senior citizens.
“If this lottery is so successful, if it is so profitable, are you telling me that there is no American company that would be part of the bidding process?” Wagner said. “If this is a good deal, there should be competition in the bidding process.”
Two bidders, whom the Revenue Department declined to name, dropped out. Wagner said sole-source contracts, in which only one bidder appears to meet the state's criteria, have led to boondoggles in recent years — including the state Liquor Control Board's wine-kiosk program that “ended up being a disaster” and the sale of the State Office Building Downtown, which cost taxpayers “at least $50 million.”
Camelot, in an opinion piece submitted to several newspapers, touted its 18 years' experience running the U.K. lottery and noted it has worked with the California State Lottery since 2009.
“We plan to incorporate and locate all of our lottery operations in Pennsylvania. With our offices here, we will pay all relevant taxes, making our investment in Pennsylvania total and complete,” wrote Alex Kovach, managing director of Camelot.
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.