Pennsylvania treasurer: No lottery funds for expanded gambling

Plans must first comply with law

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HARRISBURG -- State Treasurer Rob McCord says his office will not sign off on any lottery funds for expanding gambling until officials prove that plans submitted by a private management firm comply with the law.

Mr. McCord wrote a letter Wednesday to Department of Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser stating that the public information so far from United Kingdom-based Camelot Global Services PA LLC about their plan to boost lottery revenues has been too vague.

While the documents that have been released regarding that potential contract allude to offering "monitor-based games and Internet products," it is unclear whether legislative approval will be sought before implementing such options, he wrote.

"Accordingly, please be advised I will not authorize the expenditure of public funds for lottery expansion unless I am satisfied such an expenditure is legally permitted under existing law," his letter states.

Camelot, which runs the U.K. lottery, was the sole company to submit a bid to run the state's lottery. The firm has pledged to bring in more than $34 billion in profits over the course of a 20-year management contract.

Some state lawmakers also have expressed skepticism about whether such new lottery games would be allowed without the specific authorization from the General Assembly.

Senate Democrats wrote Gov. Tom Corbett a letter last month expressing concerns about the potential expansion and a lack of public hearings on the proposal.

Revenue spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said Wednesday that the department has "broad authority" when it comes to running the lottery.

"Exploring and executing a [management agreement] for the Lottery are well within that authority, as are introducing new Lottery games like Keno (simply Super 7 drawn more frequently than once or twice a day) and strictly luck-based Internet offerings," she wrote in an email.

Proceeds from the lottery fund programs for older Pennsylvanians, including property-tax rebates and discounts on prescription drugs.

Mr. Corbett has pointed to the state's growing elderly population as a reason to look for ways to increase revenues for senior programs.

electionspa - state

Harrisburg bureau chief Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254.


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