Update: Pennsylvania State Lottery Privatization Causes More Controversy


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's plans to privatize the $3.5 billion state lottery and hand over its operation to the British company Camelot Global Services seems to be encountering one obstacle after another - this time the state Gaming Control Board has interfered, concerned about potential legal problems in Corbett's stalled plan to hire the British company to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Namely, the chief counsel of the Board opined that the proposed contract documents are ambiguous and do not clearly state what kinds of new gambling Camelot Global Services would be allowed to operate. Therefore, it was added by the board's lawyer Douglas Sherman, it is impossible to say whether it infringes on the gaming board's authority under state casino gambling laws or creates illegal forms of gambling.

In a response to a request for an analysis of the contract requested by members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Sherman reported that "Despite the references to Keno, Internet games and monitor-based gaming, none of the mentioned documents provide a level of detail or description of the games contemplated, or the types of operations of the monitors contemplated for use in Keno or any other monitor-based game."

On the other hand, Corbett has not sought lawmakers' approval in his attempt to hire Camelot on a 20- to 30-year contract, expressing belief that Camelot can produce higher and more stable lottery profits for the state programs that benefit the elderly - he probably said this referring to lawmakers' claims that he simply diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from programs for the elderly to a foreign company.

Furthermore, at the beginning of the weak, a spokeswoman for Corbett's Department of Revenue, which oversees the state lottery, said the administration expects that its changes to the contract will provide clarity for the gaming board.

Furthermore, lawmakers have been assured by administration officials that they would change provisions in the contract to address concerns by Republican senators and make it clear that Camelot cannot drive the Pennsylvania Lottery into competition with land casinos through online gambling.

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