The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 8, 2013

Unionized workers offer plan for lottery

Marc Levy
Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Employees of the Pennsylvania Lottery said Tuesday they can beat a profit projection offered by a British firm seeking to manage one of the nation’s largest lotteries under a privatization plan being considered by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The employees’ union made the comments as part of a counterproposal it delivered to Corbett’s administration, which is exploring whether to hire Camelot Global Services on a 20-year contract.

In its proposal, Council 13 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said Camelot’s profit projections are largely achieved through the expansion of gambling – not through the company’s expertise – and existing staff can do the job better.

“Our research clearly shows that the lottery could be legally expanded in the same areas and public employees could achieve the same or greater gross sales and net revenues than the sales and profits the private manager claims,” AFSCME said. “Therefore, privatization is wholly un­necessary to achieve the same ends.”

The union said current lottery employees could return more profits to the state than what Camelot is offering, if given the chance to introduce keno, online games, subscription services and loyalty programs.

The union’s executive director, David Fillman, also said Came­lot’s management would be cos­t­­lier and that its profits from man­aging the lottery would take money from programs for seniors.

Corbett has through Thursday to decide whether to hire Camelot before the company’s bid expires. Administration officials say an extension beyond Thursday is under discussion.

The 41-year-old Pennsylvania Lottery recorded $3.5 billion in sales for the year that ended June 30 and contributed more than $1 billion in profits to benefit programs for the elderly, including transit, rent and property tax rebates, prescription drug assistance, senior centers and long-term care services.