Private lottery hearings weighed

Corbett leaning toward public airing of bid from British management firm

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HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett says he is considering holding public hearings on his administration's effort to hire a British firm to manage the state lottery.

Mr. Corbett was asked about the pending bid from Camelot Global Services PA LLC during a Thursday news conference, shortly after opponents of the privatization plan held their own event calling for more public disclosure on the arrangement before a final decision is made.

The governor initially replied that the Legislature did hold hearings, which occurred immediately after the private management search was announced but prior to the Camelot bid being submitted.

Pressed on whether a hearing would be held now that a specific proposal is under consideration, Mr. Corbett said that may occur.

"We are probably leaning that way," he told reporters.

Several activists used oversized mock lottery tickets to aid in their arguments for increased transparency about Camelot's proposals for boosting profits. They urged the administration to disclose the names of all companies and lobbyists involved as well as what the cost could be to the commonwealth if the arrangement falls apart.

"If this plan has value, then it should be discussed and vetted in public like any other public policy issue of import," said Eric Epstein of Rock the Capital.

Camelot's bid for the 20- to 30-year management contract is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, but an extension of that bid is under consideration. Camelot submitted the only bid.

Under state law, the lottery's unionized workers must be allowed to present an alternative management plan. Officials with AFSCME Council 13, which represents those workers and has sued the administration in an effort to prevent a contract from being awarded, said they have been given until Jan. 8 to offer their own plan.

state

Bureau chief Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 1-717-787-4254.


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