Mom, can we PLEASE privatize the lottery?
Once again, Camelot Global Services PA LLC has extended the deadline on its bid to manage Pennsylvania's Lottery.
Let's recap how this saga has played out:
The $34 billion bid, which United Kingdom-based Camelot put up in November, first had a deadline of Dec. 31. Then it was extended to Jan. 10, allowing time for the union representing the lottery to put up a counterproposal, which it did.
Then the bid was extended one more day — just one more day! — to Jan. 11, so that state officials and Camelot could continue negotiating a further extension on the bid. (Yes, that was the reason they gave.) But instead of announcing a bid extension, Gov. Tom Corbett came out and said he had awarded the contract to Camelot — it was a nonbinding award, of course — which he said negated the need for another extension.
Then we went into a lull, in which a House subcommittee and Attorney General Kathleen Kane were given time to review Camelot's bid and the process by which the bid was sought and received. After a few weeks, Kane said she had determined that the state Constitution prevents Corbett from making and signing such a deal by himself; instead, the General Assembly must approve such a contract.
Somewhere along the way, Camelot extended its bid to July 1, then to July 31. That brings us to today, when Camelot extended the bid until Aug. 30.
Regardless of whether you're in favor of this deal, you have to admit that the latest one-month extension is pointless. If the legislature must approve such a contract, it's rather imperative for legislators to be in session to do so — and they're in recess until Sept. 23.
These three latest extensions make me think of when my kids were toddlers and had not yet learned that when I say no, I mean no. No amount of whining, begging or pleading is going to make me change my mind.
But if anybody believes Kathleen Kane will suddenly say, "Oh, all right, fine, you can privatize the lottery since it seems like you really want to," please let me know.
Instead, what I see is a continual waste of time and resources — much like my whining toddlers, who wasted a lot of time clinging to my legs and begging when they could have been doing something much more fruitful and enjoyable. In my kids' case, all they wasted was their own time and energy; in the case of this deal, state and Camelot officials are wasting taxpayer money on consultant fees, as this state rep is questioning. The deal could have at least been extended to Oct. 30 to ostensibly give the legislature time to review it.
What do you think? Will this deal with Camelot ever come to fruition?