Pa. Lottery going private

Posted: January 11, 2013

HARRISBURG - The Corbett administration has agreed to award a British firm a contract to privatize the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

It is the administration's most aggressive foray to date into privatizing state government services.

For months, Gov. Corbett has been working behind the scenes to bring in a private company to manage the lottery, which last fiscal year recorded more than $3.5 billion in sales and more than $1 billion in profits that went toward programs that benefit the state's senior citizens. The administration has argued that a rapidly growing senior population in Pennsylvania has made it necessary to explore ways to make the lottery more profitable.

Although the contract does not yet appear to have been formally signed, the administration has issued what is called a "notice-of-bid award," according to several legislators who are familiar with the process. Lottery employees were also informed Friday afternoon of the administration's intent to award the contract to Camelot Global Services. The company runs Britain's national lottery.

The administration's late-in-the-day decision was swiftly criticized by some lawmakers, who had planned on holding a hearing next week on the need for privatization.

"To have this action take place right before a hearing . . . shows real contempt, not just for the legislature, but for the public," Sen. Rob Teplitz (D., Dauphin) said.

Said Dave Fillman, executive director of AFSCME Council 13, which represents roughly 170 unionized lottery workers: "We are obviously disappointed that the decision would come down, especially when most of the nation is talking about trying to stop the outsourcing of jobs. Now, 170 of my members could likely lose their jobs to a foreign corporation."

AFSCME has sued to stop the contract, arguing that Corbett lacks authority to privatize the lottery without legislative approval. Seven Democratic lawmakers have also joined in the legal proceedings.


Contract Inquirer staff writer Angela Couloumbis at 717-787-5934 or acouloumbis@phillynews.com.

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