The Pennsylvania Lottery reported on Thursday that it achieved records in sales and profits even as Republican Gov. Tom Corbett fought to hand its management over to a private British firm.
The lottery's sales reached $3.7 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, an increase of $219 million, or 6 percent, over the previous year. Profits were relatively flat at just above $1 billion, rising $6.5 million, or less than 1 percent.
Profit margin shrank from above 30 percent to below 28 percent as the cost of sales rose by nearly $200 million, or about 8 percent.
Corbett wants to hire Camelot Global Services to run the lottery on a 20- to 30-year contract, saying its promise of $34 billion in profits over that period was higher and more stable than the current management of public employees could deliver. The labor union that represents many of the lottery employees disagreed and has sued to challenge the legality of the state's move.
Meanwhile, Camelot has agreed to extend its bid through July 31 while the Corbett administration rewrites the contract in an effort to win approval from Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who in February rejected it as illegal. The attorney general's office reviews state contracts for form and legality.
In June, House lawmakers briefly considered and then rejected a provision that would have helped Corbett solidify his case to Kane to approve the contract.
The contract has other potential hurdles. Democratic state Treasurer Rob McCord told Corbett's administration that he may not pay Camelot until he's satisfied that the company's vague plans to expand lottery gambling are clearly legal under state law.
Only three other states _ Indiana, Illinois and New Jersey _ have moved to hire private lottery managers. None has hired Camelot, which operates the British national lottery.
The 41-year-old Pennsylvania Lottery contributes its profits to benefit programs for the elderly, including transit, rent and property tax rebates, prescription drug assistance, senior centers and long-term care services.