State agencies have turf protection disease over Lottery proposal

Add the chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to the group questioning Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to have a British company manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery.

Can you say protecting your turf?

The counsel wants more definition on how Camelot Global would use Keno, Internet games and monitor-based gambling in its plan to expand the Lottery’s reach.

We can’t help but be struck by the difference between the move to privatize the Lottery and the move a decade ago to bring slots to the state by Gov. Ed Rendell. When that happened, Rendell’s plan and projected revenues were taken on faith, even as we questioned how over the top they were at the time. Gov. Rendell told everyone that the revenue from slots would greatly reduce if not eliminate local school property taxes.

It was an outlandish projection at the time because the amount of revenue necessary to do what Rendell promised was beyond the spending power of Pennsylvania residents and others who would use the slots. Almost none of the tax reductions have been realized, even as the slots have been a monetary success.

Fast forward to the present day and Gov. Corbett, who makes no such outlandish promises, is challenged for the initiative to merely place management of the Lottery in private hands.

And the goal is higher and more stable Lottery profits which, in turn, would benefit state programs for Pennsylvania’s massive elderly population.

We respect that the state’s attorney general has legal questions about the proposed privatized Lottery. But simple objection to turning government services over to private management for the good of all impacted by the Lottery is not legitimate. And a lot of this resistance sounds like nothing more than that.