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State Sen. Matt Smith Questions Privatizing Pennsylvania Lottery

The first-term Democratic state senator called the decision to hire a British-based company to run the Pennsylvania Lottery a “risky scheme” and questioned the motivation of Gov. Tom Corbett.

State Sen. Matt Smith is questioning how Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration made the decision to hire a British company to run the Pennsylvania Lottery.

The first-term Democratic senator from Mt. Lebanon said a hearing with the Finance Committee helped to shed light on the decision-making process by the administration, but it “does not forgive the actions taken that effectively cut the public and specifically seniors out of the process” to select the private operator.

The Corbett administration last week issued a notice of award to Camelot Global Services, a British-based company, to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery. The governor’s office has said privatizing the lottery will add billions to the state coffers to help its aging population.

But Smith called the decision a “risky scheme” and questioned the motivation of the governor.

“The administration’s decision to outsource the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery is a risky scheme for Pennsylvania that seems to rely on several unsubstantiated claims,” Smith said in a press release.

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To shed more light on the deal, Alex Kovach, Camelot's managing director, and CEO Dianne Thompson, testified during Monday’s hearing, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They said their company would work to expand the lottery’s revenue base by working to encourage more residents to buy tickets, according to the newspaper.

Smith said he is concerned about the transparency of the process and why the plans continued after the state received just one bidder. He also is unsure how plans to add more games, such as Keno, will affect state residents.

Most importantly, though, Smith said he wants more information about how the changes would affect senior programs that are funded through the lottery.

 “There are many serious questions that remain about this proposal and how it will impact vital programs and issues of concern Pennsylvania seniors,” Smith said. “After (Monday’s) hearing, I remain unconvinced that our seniors programs will be protected and that is something we cannot afford to risk.”

sieben13 January 16, 2013 at 06:25 AM
corbett is a piece of work, he should be answering about the sandusky scandal . What he did ,or didn't do .
Bev Thurner January 16, 2013 at 07:47 AM
Under whose authority is Tom Corbet acting? He should not be able to use this platform for his own personal platform. I believe that he is taking this action so that he can make himself look good, skim off all the money that he wants, thus leaving the state bankrupt for the next several decades. Once he is out of office, he could probably care less.
Bev Thurner January 16, 2013 at 07:50 AM
In the second place, I am sure that there are Americans who are more qualified to handle the job. Why keep giving our businesses away to foreign nations.
Terry Jones January 16, 2013 at 02:21 PM
@Bev, I agree. We have thousand without employment, why go out of Country? Also, why just one bid? Don't you usually have to have 3? Corbet pushes his power for what he wants and not what's best for the people. Matt has my vote.
lee January 16, 2013 at 02:30 PM
@Bev - I agree also @Terry - why go out of the state? Also, what about all the administrative fees Camelot will be charging "our senior citizens"? Seems to me, I haven't heard any compliants about our present system - so "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it" Makes no sense at all -
Bill January 16, 2013 at 04:16 PM
We should outsource Corbett and leave the lottery alone. If Corbett wants to do something tax the gas drillers. If we thought Rendell was bad this jerk is a lot worse!
Roger January 17, 2013 at 02:34 AM
This thread, and others related to the proposed PA Lottery changes, demonstrate how well our citizens understand the issue. I do not know what to call the comments, ignorant, misunderstandings, or fodder for political hacks. Here is a related Patch story, http://hellertown.patch.com/articles/just-1-company-interested-in-running-pa-lottery When people speak about "selling the lottery to a British company," the proposal is nothing of the sort. When people talk about "only one company," the situation is nothing of the sort. When people talk about "its not broken, what is there to fix," they have not understood the reasons why the bids were solicited in the first place. What makes the PA Lottery management contract unique that the discussion of the proposal so far off the facts of the situation? Help me out on this one, please. Are our citizens unable to understand the very simplest of facts about this case? I am not supporting, or rejecting the proposal under consideration. I am only asking why so many comments are so far off base. In your answers, save the Corbett bashing for another thread. That is not the subject of my comment.
USC for me January 17, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Roger...are you referring to the article titled "PA Lottery Gets Just 1 Bid for Private Management" ...that talks about "Camelot Global Services, which runs the National Lottery in the United Kingdom." taking over the PA lottery..which I assume is the same Camelot that is based in the UK? I don't think this particular article, or a few others, did anything to clear up the confusion and ignorance that may exist.
Roger January 17, 2013 at 01:45 PM
The article makes clear that there were three entries in the bidding process, at the beginning. Two of them dropped out. To suggest that "why only one," those posting need to address the question to the two entries who dropped out. Having only one bidder is not the issue of the process or Corbett. Those making comments about "selling out" can learn from the article the terms of the proposal. There is nothing about "selling out," rather only a management contract. Continuing to hear about the process "selling out to the UK business" demonstrates simple ignorance of the entire topic. "Selling out" is far different than a management contract. Why was this even considered? Read the article, and others like it. The issue is increasing the scope of the lottery. Saying "it is not broken" is to keep blind to any increase in revenues that may be realized from the lottery. This is a routine practice in many businesses. The revenue streams reach some level, but the potential is not realized because of the capability of the company. The smart businesses take action to capture the potential, and continue to grow. This is what the entire process is about -- realizing a potential that is not being captured because the existing structure is unable to take it further. I'm only stating the facts and observations. I detest the lottery in itself. But, the proposals being considered recently stand on their own, regardless of my personal persuasion. Educate yourself.
Mike Jones (Editor) January 17, 2013 at 02:15 PM
@Roger... I think this company would disagree that it "dropped out" of the bidding process... http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/01/16/company-says-process-to-takeover-pa-lottery-unfair/#.UPb_0f6AZQk.twitter
same old story January 19, 2013 at 02:19 AM
something smells

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