Democrats in the state House of Representatives blasted Governor Tom Corbett’s “secretive” plan to turn the operation of the Pennsylvania Lottery over to a private management firm.

“We have said for months that this process has been too secretive, and we called on Governor Corbett to shine some light and transparency on his plan for privatizing the lottery,” state Representative Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, said in a statement. “Now, when there is no General Assembly in session, he is trying to hand-deliver a lucrative contract to the lone bidder with no hearings, no legislative approval and no public scrutiny. This whole thing stinks.”

The Corbett administration announced November 20 that it was considering a bid from Canada-based Camelot Global Services PA LLC for a 20-to-30-year contract to manage the lottery.

The administration argued that a private firm will grow sales and profits as it expands to online gaming. Corbett’s office also said that it has yet to finalize the plan.

“The receipt of a priced bid represents an important milestone in this process, which began last April,” said Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser said in a statement. “While there are several additional steps before we’ll be prepared to make a final decision, this is a proposal that warrants a complete and detailed review, and it is encouraging to see the potential private manager propose 20 years of significant profit growth.”

The Democrats question tinkering with a system that already shows years of profit.

The Pennsylvania Lottery had a record year in 2011-12, with sales of nearly $3.5 billion and profits of more than $1 billion. For this fiscal year, lottery sales are on pace for another record, with profits nearly 10 percent higher than they were a year ago, the Democratic Caucus said.

— John L. Kennedy, for the
Law Weekly