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Sen. Smith Questions Privatizing Lottery

The first-term Democratic state senator called the decision to hire a British-based company to run the Pennsylvania Lottery a “risky scheme” and questioned the motivation of Gov. Tom Corbett.

State Sen. Matt Smith is questioning how Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration made the decision to hire a British company to run the Pennsylvania Lottery.

The first-term Democratic senator from Mt. Lebanon said a hearing with the Finance Committee helped to shed light on the decision-making process by the administration, but it “does not forgive the actions taken that effectively cut the public and specifically seniors out of the process” to select the private operator.

The Corbett administration last week issued a notice of award to Camelot Global Services, a British-based company, to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery. The governor’s office has said privatizing the lottery will add billions to the state coffers to help its aging population.

But Smith, who now represents Peters Township, called the decision a “risky scheme” and questioned the motivation of the governor.

“The administration’s decision to outsource the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery is a risky scheme for Pennsylvania that seems to rely on several unsubstantiated claims,” Smith said in a press release.

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To shed more light on the deal, Alex Kovach, Camelot's managing director, and CEO Dianne Thompson, testified during Monday’s hearing, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They said their company would work to expand the lottery’s revenue base by working to encourage more residents to buy tickets, according to the newspaper.

Smith said he is concerned about the transparency of the process and why the plans continued after the state received just one bidder. He also is unsure how plans to add more games, such as Keno, will affect state residents.

Most importantly, though, Smith said he wants more information about how the changes would affect senior programs that are funded through the lottery.

 “There are many serious questions that remain about this proposal and how it will impact vital programs and issues of concern Pennsylvania seniors,” Smith said. “After (Monday’s) hearing, I remain unconvinced that our seniors programs will be protected and that is something we cannot afford to risk.”

Roger January 17, 2013 at 01:51 PM
jane, can you put aside your disgust for Gov Corbett for a moment, and tell us what YOU know to be true about the proposal, why the issue even came to come under consideration, how the bidding process went down? When you tell us what you know to be true, perhaps we can better understand your comment.
Roger January 19, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Calling on jane for some answers, ... youuu-hoo, jane.
Bernard Bender January 21, 2013 at 11:48 PM
What's Matt Smith's idea? I know, let's unionize more business and pay for their unaffordable pensions and benefits, and then raise taxes and make the people of Peters township pay for it? Does that sound about right? This is guy is the Barack Obama of the South Hills. I hope this district is happy they elected him, lucky for all of us he is in the minority in the Senate, and won't be able to get a lot of his horrible ideas like money for Global warming passed.
Bernard Bender January 21, 2013 at 11:49 PM
What's Matt Smith's idea? I know, let's unionize more business and pay for their unaffordable pensions and benefits, and then raise taxes and make the people of Peters township pay for it? Does that sound about right? This is guy is the Barack Obama of the South Hills. I hope this district is happy they elected him, lucky for all of us he is in the minority in the Senate, and won't be able to get a lot of his horrible ideas like money for Global warming passed.
Bernard Bender January 21, 2013 at 11:49 PM
What's Matt Smith's idea? I know, let's unionize more business and pay for their unaffordable pensions and benefits, and then raise taxes and make the people of Peters township pay for it? Does that sound about right? This is guy is the Barack Obama of the South Hills. I hope this district is happy they elected him, lucky for all of us he is in the minority in the Senate, and won't be able to get a lot of his horrible ideas like money for Global warming passed.

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