Sole bidder on Pa. Lottery operations could take over by July; union vows continued fight
The sole private bidder on operations of the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery could take over in July.
Gov. Tom Corbett's administration announced an "award notice" early Friday evening, shortly after notifying employees of the Pennsylvania Lottery about the changes coming ahead.
The contract with Britain-based Camelot Global Services won't be finalized until Jan. 18. The state's top revenue official says the move will allow the administration to share more details about the agreement with the firm that will take over as private manager at a state Senate hearing scheduled for Monday.
Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa says the "entire dynamics" of that hearing will be totally different.
"I just feel like there are constitutional issues here. There are issues associated with the protection of our seniors programs, property tax relief," he said "It could be interpreted ... as an expansion of gaming, which I think is a delicate and serious issue."
Newly elected Democratic Sen. Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County was blunt.
"To have this action take place right before a hearing where we were finally going to have an opportunity to get answers to our questions shows real contempt, not just for the Legislature but for the public," he said.
Camelot has guaranteed profits of $34 billion over 20 years, an increase of 3 or 4 percent over the Lottery's current profits.
David Fillman, with the union representing about 170 Lottery employees, says he's not giving up attempts to stop the private management deal.
"We are not done with this battle," he said. "We have three avenues we're going down. We have the lawsuit that we filed. We also have a grievance under our contractual grievance and arbitration procedure, which would go to arbitration.
"And on Feb. 15, we have a hearing before the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board," Fillman said.
He said hundreds of people could lose their jobs as a result of Camelot taking over the Lottery operations.