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Senator Costa Looks For Lottery Control

Democratic members of the Pennsylvania Senate are trying to get out in front of the Governor's office when it comes to privatizing the state's lottery system. Earlier this year Gov. Tom Corbett indicated that he might be looking to sign a contract with a private company to handle the day-to-day management of the lottery.

Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny County) has introduced legislation that he hopes will put safeguards in place to make sure there is enough cash flow to protect lottery-funded programs serving senior citizens.

"Our most important goal is to make sure the resources we have and the programs we have in place here in Pennsylvania for our seniors … continue to be strong viable programs going forward," Costa said.

30% of the proceeds from the lottery go to programs that benefit older Pennsylvanians.

It has been estimated that contracting with a private management team would have generated an extra $275 million in revenue had it been in place from 2008 through 2011. However, Costa is worried that the state might not get the best deal if important controls are not established.

"We want to make certain that we are able to put into place parameters that provide guidance to the administration and the lottery fund so that we know exactly what we are going to get," said Costa.

Costa's legislation would limit the length of contract to no more than five years, and force the state to hold hearings on the proposed contract.

"The public needs to understand who is involved in these endeavors and what the contract is going to look like," said Costa.

The legislation would also require the state to retain control over "significant business decisions," meaning the lottery cannot be sold. The goal is to allow the legislature to retain ultimate oversight of the lottery.