Official: Lottery Privatization Was Sweetheart Deal

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One day after Pennsylvania's Attorney General shot down the governor's plan to privatize the lottery, administration officials insist the proposed deal is legal.

During a stop near Lewisburg, State Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser of Luzerne County pitched the governor's budget plan to area business leaders.

Before he was finished, Meuser defended Governor Corbett's failed plan to turn over management of the state lottery system to a company from the United Kingdom.

"For the benefit of all the Pennsylvanians, there's no other reason to try to be doing something like this," Meuser told the crowd at the Country Cupboard.

According to State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, the contract Meuser signed off on is unconstitutional. Kane said the deal would have acted as an end-around the legislature and gaming control board.

"I don't have a reply to her, the governor stated he's disappointed, and we'll review what our options are," said Meuser.

The Republican administration had been planning the lottery deal for nearly a year, according to Meuser and would not have gone ahead with it if the governor's team did not believe the contract was legal.

"It was a sweetheart deal if you will for the Commonwealth, and we feel quite legal," said Meuser.

Williamsport attorney Clifford Reiders does not think Governor Corbett will put up a legal fight and try to push the lottery deal through.

"He bit off an awful lot to chew, we're going to privatize it, we're going to have internet gambling, we're going to reconstruct the whole system from the legislative point of view, and by the way, forget about the constitution," said Reiders.

If anything, Reiders said this could serve as a lesson in party politics for Governor Corbett that he really cannot run the state any way he wants.