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Bagging Lottery Privatization Opens New Doors

January 2, 2014- Tom Joseph
HARRISBURG- The New Year will bring a new plan for the Pennsylvania State Lottery.

The Democratic floor leader in the state Senate calls it ill advised from the start for Gov. Tom Corbett to have tried to privatize the lottery.

Sen. Jay Costa says he's glad the privatization idea is being shelved.

Costa, a Democrat from Pittsburgh, says the decision allows the state to go back to the drawing board for a lottery blueprint for the future.

"We're going to have a conversation about how we manage our lottery program," he says. "That conversation must entail openness, accountability, transparency - to make certain that the Commonwealth's resources are protected."

Corbett has announced he's cancelling a contract with British gaming company Camelot Global Services, which he planned to have run the state lottery.

Estimates are that contract cost the state well over $4 million since it was announced in 2012.

In the last fiscal year, the Pennsylvania Lottery generated $3.7 billion in sales, $1 billion of which went to programs that help seniors.

Costa says moving forward, the process for how best to run the lottery cannot consist of the governor acting unilaterally with a lone entity.

He says it must be a collaborative effort, and one that more closely involves current lottery personnel and officials.

"My expectation is that we will be looking at some other ways in which we can maybe do some advisory-type management of the lottery program, to enhance the revenue there," he explains.

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