Lottery privatization pursuit finished – but only for now

Gov. Tom Corbett and his administration have ended pursuit of a British national lottery operator to run the Pennsylvania Lottery in a privatization deal, but the administration hasn’t ruled out another attempt to privatize the Lottery.

And it shouldn’t.

The governor could not overcome the legal hurdles posed by a ruling from Attorney General Kathleen Kane that the contract violated the state constitution and state laws.

The legislative tweaks necessary to overcome the ruling was not palatable to the state Legislature.

But facts are facts and reality is the best reason to continue pursuing Lottery management by a private vehicle that contractually promises more revenue deep into the future than the Lottery currently provides.

While the Pennsylvania Lottery is one of the more lucrative in the nation, the demands on it are great. The state has one of the nation’s larger elderly populations, so funding programs for that population into the far-off future is always a critical consideration.

The Lottery generates $1 billion in proceeds for elderly programs, but that won’t be enough in the future.

The deal Corbett was pursuing with Camelot Global Services promised $34 billion in profits over 20 years.

Any attempt at privatization of any state service always meets outsized opposition.

But if you are looking for a reason why privatization of the Lottery should be pursued in the future, look no further than the potential dollars and consider the population that must be cared for adequately in the future.