Legislator slams lottery privatization bid

Gov. Tom Corbett’s attempt to privatize the state’s lottery has been a shady undertaking that will most likely end up in the courts, state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, told a group who gathered at a town hall meeting he hosted Wednesday night at City Hall.

He said a deal to make Camelot Global Services – a United Kingdom-based company – owner of the state’s lottery was done without proper public discourse.

In fact, Mirabito said, more public input would have been needed to change a paint color on an historic house in the city compared to the push to make Camelot the lottery’s administrator.

“The whole thing wasn’t done in an open and transparent manner,” he said.

Further, he said he has concerns that profits from the company would be used to fund Canadian teacher pensions and company bonuses. Camelot’s parent company is the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund. A British newspaper recently reported that Camelot set aside $8 million in bonuses for 25 managers, while lottery ticket prices in the UK have doubled.

Mirabito, who said the state’s lottery already is working and generating money for senior citizens, said Corbett’s deal was a “closed-door, back room deal.”

“It should have been vetted publicly because it’s the public’s money,” he said.

Mirabito also said at the meeting that he supports

Second Amendment rights, but he’s not sure if Pennsylvania should nullify federal laws on gun control – or any other issue that may be passed.

But states are realizing that they have power and can exert some muscle, said Dr. Anthony Cipolla, who pointed to states that have legalized marijuana in the face of federal laws against it.

Cipolla asked if Mirabito supports House Bill 357, sponsored by Butler County Republican Daryl Metcalfe, which would nullify federal attempts to register, restrict or ban firearms or to limit the size of firearms’ magazines.

Mirabito said the bill was introduced just days ago and still needs to be studied.

“There’s always two sides to a story,” said Mirabito.

“If you don’t support this, you’ll run into some problems next time around,” Cipolla warned.