Pennsylvania Senate hearings on lottery expansion earlier this week focused on increasing state revenue for seniors' programs by expanding lottery games under public management (to include keno). This was a welcome shift from last year's proposed privatization of the lottery with the Camelot Group, a British company, and a temporary reprieve from more recent rumors about privatizing lottery management.
The shift away from privatization was particularly welcome given recent news from The Times of London about the outsize (and hidden) £2.1million bonus received by Camelot's chief executive, Dianne Thompson, at the end of last year. The same Times of London story also points out the £112 million paid in dividends to shareholders in the year ending March 2013.
The price of British lottery tickets recently doubled, so we can expect more increases in revenues in the future, with Camelot -- and Thompson -- siphoning off a healthy portion of the additional take instead of the public programs supported by the British lottery.
The British experience brings to mind our original critique of the proposed Pennsylvania deal with Camelot. To us, it looked like a sweetheart deal, in which Camelot embedded a set of easily attained financial goals within a complicated agreement. The practical result, we feared, would be Camelot (and its executives) capturing nearly half of the growth of revenues that state management of the lottery could achieve by expanding lottery games (to include keno) and through the normal growth of revenues.
Glad we dodged that bullet! For now.