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PA Lawmaker Wants New Controls on Lottery Operator

As Gov. Tom Corbett continues to look for an avenue that can be used to revive a scuttled plan to lease the state’s lottery to an outside vender, state Sen. Rob Teplitz is looking to put controls in place that he thinks will keep politics out of the operation.

The Democrat from Dauphin County has introduced legislation that, among other things, would place any private lottery operator under restraints similar to those placed on casino operators. 

Specifically, that would include a prohibition on the company and its employees from making political contributions in Pennsylvania and a prohibition on Pennsylvania elected officials from owning a piece of the private company.

“We’re talking about a very lucrative contract that could net (UK-based lottery operator) Camelot up to $34 billion over 20 years,” said Teplitz, referring to the lone bidder to operate the state’s lottery.  “So we want to make sure that folks associated with the private manager can’t make contributions to political interests to gain favorable treatment.”

SB 772 would also open a loophole in the state’s ethics act. 

In an effort to keep state employees from offering sweetheart deals to private companies and then leaving to take a job at that company, state law puts a one year waiting period on state employees who want to go work for a contractor that did business with their department.

That means current lottery employees would not be able to take jobs with Camelot for a full year.

“We want to make sure that the lottery employees would not be affected by this unintended consequence, so we fixed that in our bill,” Teplitz said.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the proposed contract with Camelot Global Services, and Corbett is said to be working to tweak the wording of the contract to allay her concerns. There is no word at this time on when the governor will present the revised contract to the attorney general. 

Teplitz said the legislation will not be needed if the contract is not revised, but he does not want to wait until the deal is finalized to launch his efforts. The bill is yet to be assigned to committee.

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