Tartaglione: Hearing Doesn’t Sell Lottery Deal
HARRISBURG, Jan. 14, 2012 – A day-long hearing today regarding the Corbett administration’s plan to hand the Pennsylvania Lottery over to a foreign operator failed to address serious concerns about the deal and the secretive and unilateral process by which it was reached, state Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione said today.
Last week, without consultation with the General Assembly, the administration announced that it had issued a “notice of award” to Camelot Global Services for a 20-year private management contract.
The announcement came in defiance of a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, during which lawmakers sought answers to numerous questions about the proposal.
“The governor apparently believes he can slap the legislature aside and operate Pennsylvania as a partnership between himself and opaque corporate partners,” Tartaglione said. “I will continue to partner with concerned taxpayers, lottery employees and public officials to make sure that this reckless rush is halted and a deliberate, transparent evaluation ensues.”
Tartaglione has joined a lawsuit intended to halt the handover of the lottery while other management offers, including one by the lottery’s now-endangered employees, are considered.
“Camelot claims it can generate $34 billion in profits, but it comes with some vague and disturbing expansions of gambling in Pennsylvania,” Tartaglione said. “It’s something that clearly calls for public input and that’s not what is happening. The risks are very high and the backlash will be enormous.”
In a letter to Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser, Tartaglione questioned Camelot’s creation of a Delaware subsidiary to submit its lottery bid.
“For several months, I have been asking for information regarding the tax compliance and liability of Camelot and their Pennsylvania subsidiary that was created in Delaware for this venture,” she said. “All I have received in response are vague assurances that we can trust the administration and Camelot to do the right thing for Pennsylvania taxpayers and its vulnerable senior population.”
At today’s hearing, Camelot officias said they are now in the process of filing paperwork to incorporate in Pennsylvania and will pay all applicable taxes.
But that doesn’t end the question about tax compliance, Tartaglione said.
“There is nothing in the agreement that prevents them from doing what thousands of other corporations do in Delaware,” Tartaglione said. “It’s just more vague promises and nothing in writing.”
Camelot officials have said that, under the management agreement, 80 percent of the lottery’s employees will be Pennsylvanians.
“That means the state loses the rest of the jobs and we’re supposed to be fostering job growth,” Tartaglione said. “Right now, virtually all of the lottery’s employees live in Pennsylvania. That’s the way it should be.”