Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
What's in it for lottery operator Camelot?
TO THE EDITORS:
On Jan. 24, Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation told us that senior services in Pennsylvania will benefit from the state lottery's takeover by Camelot of Great Britain.
In both letters, he makes gratuitous ad hominem remarks about the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees union. He offers nothing as to the merits of the takeover other than Camelot's "guarantee" of substantial lottery profits for our state's seniors.
Guarantee? We will all learn what that means when they fail to deliver; seniors will lose and Camelot will win. A comparison of the state's present costs of running this game of chance with the profits that will be taken by the foreign enterprise would be helpful. However, Benefield does not want useful information to get in the way.
He prefers to condemn anyone opposing this privatization move without identifying the Commonwealth Foundation's interest in this matter. Why are they carrying Camelot's bags? The state created the lottery, now private enterprise wants in on the profits. Hence, the foundation is lobbying for Camelot. It's that simple.
Whenever private companies want to run governmental enterprises it is not to help the taxpayer or because they can do a better job, rather it is to make money that in the end is taken away from taxpayers. Private insurance companies have gotten into Medicare in the form of Medicare Advantage plans which costs more than government run Medicare. Companies that wish to run schools, highways and prisons have the same noble ideals as the Commonwealth Foundation, i.e., profits. Every dollar taken from this venture by Camelot is a dollar taken from Pennsylvania's seniors.
Finally, when Gov. Tom Corbett made this deal before the scheduled public hearing by Sen. Mike Brubaker it only confirmed the obvious; something unsavory or even unethical is afoot here.
Full disclosure: I am a retired senior. My only connection with unions is that my father was a member.