Pennsylvania Lawmakers Grapple With Lottery Privatization

The state of Pennsylvania has become a gambling industry leader in the US over the past few years, and now Governor Tom Corbett is preparing to follow in the footsteps of former Governor Ed REndell and expand gambling even further.

The issue that will become the hot topic in the Legislature in early 2013 is Corbett’s idea to privatize the state lottery. Indiana and Illinois are the only two states in the country that have privatized their lottery, and both states have seen an increase in profits since doing so.

Corbett is facing still opposition from legislative leaders in the state. Late this week, Representative Paul Clymer became the latest lawmaker to warn Corbett about the impending move to privatization.

“There are enough dysfunctional families struggling in the commonwealth,” wrote Clymer, in a letter to the governor. “This proposal to extend gambling will only worsen this situation. Accelerating the privatization process will create more questions than answers.”

Corbett understands the lawmakers’ concerns about doing due diligence. He contends that the ultimate goal is to deliver on his campaign promise to privatize certain aspects of the state.

“We plan to do exactly as Rep. Clymer suggests and as we have done for the last eight months: carefully, deliberately, consider what is in the best interest of older Pennsylvanians.”

Camelot Global Services is the British company that Corbett has been looking into when it comes to running the lottery. The plan on the table would create a 20 to 30 year contract. Corbett believes that the private company could do a better job marketing and selling lottery tickets than the current leaders that are running the lottery.

Pennsylvania has become a haven for gambling over the past decade. Several new casinos have opened in that time, and last year lawmakers authorized table games at state casinos. By July the table games were operational, and by December Pennsylvania had passed New Jersey to become the second-largest casino gaming revenue state in the US, behind only Nevada.

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