Lawmakers hear more on Camelot vision for Pa. lottery

More details about a British firm’s plans for the Pennsylvania Lottery have been released, now that the Corbett administration has signaled it wants to finalize the deal.

Camelot Global Services has promised an increase in profits for the Lottery, based on expanding the selection of games to include options such as keno drawings at video terminals in bars and restaurants.

The company also is elaborating on its plan to tap the market of potential customers in Pennsylvania.

CEO Diane Thompson says there’s always some subset of the population that just won’t play the Lottery. In the United Kingdom, where Camelot runs the national Lottery, it’s about 6 percent, she says.

“Through the research, we didn’t find anything more significant than that here in Pennsylvania, it’s just that the marketing and the games so far, people saying, it’s not for me,” she said. “But the potential is there.”

Under a proposal to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery, keno drawings could start this year, online Lottery tickets could be a reality by 2015, and games could eventually be available at 3,400 additional retailers.

The Corbett administration, which is negotiating the deal with Camelot, says about 70 current Lottery employees will likely keep working for the state.

But Alex Kovach, Camelot’s president, says his company has a commitment to add to its headcount.

“This is not about costs. This is about driving the top line. The real benefit in Lottery is selling more in a responsible way, so we would be looking to increase people over time and employment in Pennsylvania and that would absolutely be people based here in Pennsylvania and headquartered in Middletown, as the Lottery currently is,” he said.

It’s not yet clear when the contract with Camelot could be finalized.

State lawmakers grilled Camelot executives and Corbett administration officials at the first public hearing on the deal Monday.

One Republican senator suggested what Camelot envisions for growing Pennsylvania’s Lottery customer base may not be realistic.

 

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