Pa. said to be revising, resubmitting lottery contract

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HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett plans to ask state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office to reverse its rejection of a contract with a British firm to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery, a top lawmaker said Tuesday.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said administration officials told him Monday that they are making changes in the contract with London-based Camelot Global Services that Ms. Kane rejected last month in preparation to resubmit it for her approval.

Mr. Corbett on Tuesday declined to discuss his plans for the lottery, but said his office has been speaking with Camelot about how an appeal of the attorney general's determination would affect the company.

"Obviously we've been talking with Camelot," he said. "We need to know how it affects them."

Those discussions have included the topics of "whether we go forward in the form the contract is in now and whether we might revise the contract."

Elizabeth Brassell, spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, said she could not comment on Mr. Scarnati's remarks. She said certain changes could be made to the contract without triggering the need to rebid.

The changes described by Mr. Scarnati, R-Jefferson, would limit the scope of gambling that would be allowed under the contract. Senate Republicans had asked Mr. Corbett's administration in January to make it clear that the Pennsylvania Lottery cannot compete with casinos through online gambling.

Mr. Scarnati said he believes those changes will be part of a contract that the administration will resubmit to Ms. Kane.

Ms. Kane had said she would not approve Camelot's 20- to 30-year contract because state law does not allow the governor to privatize the management of the lottery nor does it allow the expansion of gambling that the contract would permit. The attorney general's office reviews state contracts for form and legality.

The Corbett administration has a Saturday deadline to respond to Ms. Kane's decision and can appeal it in court, as well. Camelot is the United Kingdom's official lottery operator.

Mr. Corbett has said he believes Camelot can produce higher and more stable lottery profits for the state. Democratic lawmakers have criticized Mr. Corbett as diverting money from programs for the elderly to a foreign firm at a time when the state employees who run the lottery are achieving strong gains in profits and sales and keeping overhead low.

Profits from the 41-year-old Pennsylvania Lottery benefit programs for the elderly, including transit, rent and property tax rebates, prescription drug assistance, senior centers and long-term care services.

state

Karen Langley of the Post-Gazette contributed to this report.


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