Camelot Group, a British firm that operates the UK national lottery, is set to start running the Pennsylvania lottery. Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett gave the firm a notice of Award last week. Camelot was the sole bidder for the lottery management contract. Camelot will be the third private lottery operator in the United States. Illinois and Indiana are privately managed. Even though being given the notice of award is not a guarantee the company will be operating the lottery it is encouraging for Camelot. Camelot faces some serious opposition from legislators and the union that represents lottery employees.
Democrats contend that giving the notice of award before hearings were held is heavy handed and shows a lack of transparency. The union representing lottery employees has filed a lawsuit. So far there are no statistics available about how the general public feels about Corbett’s privatization efforts. Some say that Democrats are using the issue for political purposes. Observers expect plenty of heated debate in Pennsylvania about privatization.
The Pennsylvania lottery was launched and sold its first tickets in 1972 making it one of the oldest state lotteries in the United States. Funds generated from ticket sales are used for a variety of programs that benefit senior citizens. Democrats say that if privatization takes place there will be less money for senior programs in the state. Over $20 billion dollars have been raised for the programs since the lottery was launched. Even though the Pennsylvania lottery is a success story Corbett’s administration has been considering privatization for a long time.
Camelot is one of the most successful lottery operators in the world. In addition to running the UK national lottery the firm, along with French and Spanish companies Française des Jeux and Loterías y Apuestas Del Estado, was instrumental in launching the EuroMillions lottery in 2004. Camelot has promised to generate $34 million dollars in profits over a 20 year period. Currently all indications are that Camelot will succeed in its bid to manage the Pennsylvania lottery despite the opposition.