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Corbett expected to resubmit Pennsylvania lottery deal

| Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 4:44 p.m.

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett plans to ask Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office to reverse its rejection of a contract with a British firm to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery, a top lawmaker said Tuesday.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said administration officials told him Monday that they are making changes in the contract with London-based Camelot Global Services that Kane rejected last month in preparation to resubmit it for her approval.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, which oversees the lottery, declined comment, except to say that certain changes to the contract would not trigger the need for a new round of bidding.

The changes described by Scarnati would limit the scope of gambling that would be allowed under the contract. Senate Republicans, including Scarnati, had asked Corbett's administration in January to make it clear that the Pennsylvania Lottery cannot compete with casinos through online gambling.

"They are working on language similar to ours in the contract that would address our concerns," Scarnati, R-Jefferson, said. He said he believes those changes will be part of a contract that the administration will resubmit to Kane.

Kane had said she would not approve Camelot's 20- to 30-year contract because state law does not allow the governor to privatize the management of the lottery nor does it allow the expansion of gambling that the contract would permit. The attorney general's office reviews state contracts for form and legality.

The Revenue Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Brassell, said the Corbett administration would say more later this week, once it announces its next steps. The administration has a Saturday deadline to respond to Kane's decision and can appeal it in court, as well.

Camelot is the United Kingdom's official lottery operator.

Corbett says he believes Camelot can produce higher and more stable lottery profits for the state. Democratic lawmakers have criticized Corbett as diverting money from programs for the elderly to a foreign firm at a time when the state employees who run the lottery are achieving strong gains in profits and sales and keeping overhead low.

The union that represents lottery employees also protested that employees would lose their jobs under the deal, although Camelot contends that they would expand the number of lottery employees.

Currently, profits from the 41-year-old Pennsylvania Lottery benefit programs for the elderly, including transit, rent and property tax rebates, prescription drug assistance, senior centers and long-term care services. Two other states, Indiana and Illinois, have hired private lottery managers, while New Jersey is moving in that direction.

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