HARRISBURG - Democratic lawmakers are taking aim at the Corbett administration's move to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery's management, saying it is shrouded in secrecy and will result in a corporate giveaway that diverts hundreds of millions of dollars from the state's services for the elderly.
In a letter Friday, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D., Allegheny) asked Gov. Corbett, a Republican, for a slew of documents, including the proposed management agreement between the state and the British firm Camelot Global Services, an unredacted copy of Camelot's bid, and a full explanation of the scope of expanded lottery gambling being considered.
"A decision as important as handing over an extremely well-run, efficient, and successful lottery to a foreign company should not be made behind closed doors," Costa wrote.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue, which runs the lottery, said Tuesday that the drive to award a private management contract was "a fair and deliberative process." The agency will share with Costa as much as it can, such as the management agreement, but some information will remain confidential, spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said.
Corbett has said he is exploring privatization to see if a private company can help ensure that lottery profits keep pace with demand for programs that benefit the state's growing elderly population. A substantial expansion of lottery gambling to keno and online games is expected to be part of Corbett's plan to produce more lottery revenue.
Last year, Illinois became the first state to have a private company manage its lottery. Indiana's lottery management is to go private in February, and New Jersey has been considering such a move.