Mega Millions to Make Some Changes This Fall

The multi-state Mega Millions lottery game is following in the steps of Powerball and shaking up the formula a bit.  The changes take effect this fall.

The redesign of Mega Millions will mean a bigger starting jackpot and better overall odds of winning a prize. Pennsylvania Lottery Director Todd Rucci says there’s no change in the price, it will remain one dollar.

The starting jackpot will be 15 million dollars, up from the current 12 million and it will add at least 5 million dollars each time it rolls.

Players will choose the first five numbers from a bigger pool of 75 numbers compared to the current 56. The Mega Ball pool will shrink from 46 to 15 numbers. The overall odds of winning any prize will improve, but the odds of winning the jackpot will increase.

The changes take effect October 22nd. After the July 23rd drawing, advance play draws will decrease until the last drawing under the game’s current design.

Rucci says the changes are expected to produce three times as many winners overall, while producing bigger jackpots more often.

After changes were made in Powerball in early 2011, Rucci says they saw a great increase in sales.  They hope for the same results with the Mega Millions changes.

Treasurer Might Not Sign Off On Lottery Payments to Private Manager

The State Attorney General is still reviewing a deal to give management of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a private firm.  The state Treasurer is also doing his own review.

Treasurer Rob McCord says he’s still weighing whether his department will cut checks to the new lottery management firm even if Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office clears the contract.  McCord says his department plays a fiscal review role.

McCord is concerned about the expansion of lottery games without legislative approval  in a contract with Camelot Global Services. He says he’s looking at it with increasing concern in deciding whether his office would distribute funds to Camelot.

Governor Corbett, appearing Friday on Radio PA’s “Ask the Governor” said  there would be no reason for the Treasurer to withhold payments to the private manager.  He adds he would have a long conversation with the treasurer about holding up due contracts if they’re approved by the attorney general.

The Governor, a Republican,  indicated he was not concerned by the new Democratic Attorney General’s review of the agreement.

RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 1.18.13

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Brad Christman brings you Governor Tom Corbett’s remarks this week on transportation funding, guns, selling the state’s liquor stores and the new contract for Pennsylvania Lottery Management. U.S. Senator Bob Casey also weighs in on the gun proposals being debated in Washington and nationwide and we review the swearing in ceremonies for Pennsylvania’s row officers.

Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast:


Administration Answers Lottery Questions, Bidder Discusses Plan

Details of the Corbett administration’s plans to privatize Pennsylvania Lottery management became clearer at a public hearing convened Monday by the Senate Finance Committee.  As the administration seeks to finalize a 20-year, $34-billion dollar deal with Camelot Global Services, Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser did his best to put many of the lingering questions to rest.  “Under the Private Management Agreement, the Commonwealth will maintain ownership and all control of all aspects of Lottery operations, at all times,” he stressed to the panel. 

Pennsylvania’s aging population is the driving force behind the effort to put a private sector company in charge of the Lottery’s day-to-day operations.  With PA’s senior citizen population skyrocketing, Meuser says Lottery funding could fall short of demand as early as 2015.  The numbers have led the Corbett administration to explore private management as a way to guarantee steady growth in the Lottery Fund.   

11-months of work resulted in one bidder, but chief negotiator Pete Tartline says two other companies dropped out of the process, in part, because the Commonwealth was asking for too much in return.  “Yes, this is a sweetheart deal.  It’s a sweetheart deal for Pennsylvania’s seniors,” Tartline said as he explained that Camelot did not know it was the only bidder in the end. 

The public hearing was held three days after the Corbett administration issued a “notice of award,” which officially ended the procurement process.  While there’s no binding contract in place yet, Camelot Global Services also appeared in Harrisburg to answer lawmakers’ questions.  “Millions of people playing, spending relatively small sums of money, is what we believe has been the key to our success in the UK,” says Camelot Global Services CEO Diane Thompson.  Camelot has run the United Kingdom’s Lottery since its inception 18-years ago, however they plan to locate their Pennsylvania operations in the Keystone State and pay the applicable Pennsylvania taxes. 

When the contract is signed, which could be soon, officials say the Attorney General will have 30-days to review it.  Final exeuction of the contract will be followed by a six month transition period. 

The state worker union, which represents about 175 Lottery employees, is filing suit to block the deal.  “None of us have seen Camelot’s proposal.  None of us understand the rush to sell our most successful operation without a vetting process, and none of us want profits skimmed off senior programs to pad the pockets of foreign CEOs,” AFSME Council 13 Executive Director David Fillman told the committee.  Given the same opportunity to expand Lottery options, Fillman believes the current structure can beat Camelot’s profit estimates by 10 – 30%.

Deadline Extended for Pennsylvania Lottery Management Offer

Governor Corbett will have more time to consider a bid to privatize management of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Officials have announced that the lone bidder has agreed to extend its deadline, which was set to expire at midnight December 31st.  The administration now has until January 10th to consider the offer from Camelot Global Services PA LLC.

The Revenue Department says the extension will allow the union representing Lottery employees to present a counter-proposal for commonwealth review.

The bid extension will also allow more time for the risk mitigation firm Kroll Advisory Solutions to analyze the suitability of Camelot as a potential private manager for the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Meanwhile, State Senator Mike Brubaker, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, issued a statement saying he’s pleased with the extension.  He adds he has been informed that a second extension is anticipated.

As a result, the Senate Finance Committee will not alter plans to hold a public hearing on January 14th to provide an opportunity to fully vet the impact of privatizing lottery management.

Pennsylvania Lottery

Powerball Produces Two More Million Dollar Tickets in Pennsylvania

There were two Powerball tickets worth one million dollars each sold in  Pennsylvania for the drawing that was held on Saturday, December 22nd.    Pennsylvania Lottery officials say one of the tickets  was sold at the Giant Eagle in Baden, Beaver County. The other million dollar winner was sold at Stauffer’s One Stop in Ringtown, Schuylkill County.

Each retailer gets a five thousand dollar bonus for selling the tickets. No one had all five numbers plus the Powerball, meaning the jackpot grows to 50 million for Wednesday night’s drawing.

Earlier this month, a Bucks County man won a more than 33 million dollar Powerball jackpot.