British firm, Corbett extend lottery bid

Governor weighs response to the state attorney general rejecting the deal


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A top budget aide to Gov. Tom Corbett says a British firm has extended its bid to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery while the administration mulls how it will respond to the state attorney general rejecting the deal.

Executive Deputy Budget Secretary Peter Tartline said the bid from Camelot Global Services that was scheduled to expire today has been extended through Friday.

After a months-long search for a private manager, the administration last month signed a contract with Camelot, which manages the United Kingdom's lottery. Camelot pledged to bring in $34 billion in profits over the life of a 20-year contract, in part by introducing online ticket sales and keno.

Proceeds from the lottery are used to benefit seniors through programs including property-tax rebates and discounts on prescription drugs, and Mr. Corbett has argued the agreement would ensure a larger and more reliable stream of funding for a growing population of older Pennsylvanians. His budget proposal for the upcoming year relies on the agreement to provide an additional $50 million for programs for seniors.

The plan was halted Thursday when state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat who took office in January, announced her office had found the agreement violates state law, in part by infringing on the Legislature's authority to set policy and in part through too broad a provision for Camelot to make claims against the state. The office also found that state law does not allow the development of monitor-based and other electronic games, such as keno.

Mr. Corbett, a Republican, has said he disagrees and is considering how to respond. A determination by the attorney general can be appealed to the Commonwealth Court.

The bid by Camelot was set to expire at 5 p.m. today, but Friday afternoon a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue said the administration at that point was optimistic it would be extended for a period of days.

"The extension would preserve the validity of their bid and allow some time for the commonwealth and for Camelot to assess the situation and determine what next steps would be appropriate," spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said Friday.

Earlier Friday, after an appearance at Hampton Middle School, Mr. Corbett had said a failure to secure an extension would terminate the bid.

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The Associated Press contributed. Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 1-717-787-2141. First Published February 16, 2013 5:00 AM


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