Cate Long at Reuters raises some red flags about the proposal:
Excuse my cynicism, but lottery games are not very challenging to play. It sounds as if Camelot wants to target the least common denominator to bulk up lottery revenues. I’m ambivalent about gaming, but this sounds predatory on the part of Camelot, and sadly, it seems to be supported by Governor Corbett. Numerous legislators in the hearing on Monday decried the need to spread gambling further to the population.
Governor Corbett’s entire proposal happened with almost no oversight and no transparency on the financials. It would be a shame if the governor finalized this contract without further public vetting. It would tie the state’s hands for 20 to 25 years. And that would be betting a lot.
Let’s call this what it is – it’s a tax on very low income people to pay for transfers to old people. Most state lotteries are. Perhaps the Camelot-managed lottery will be even more predatory about it, but this is basically a feature of all lotteries.
Instead of preying on gambling addicts, wouldn’t it be better to just raise the sales tax or cut sales tax exemptions? There’s nothing wrong with a regressive tax if it’s going to pay for useful public services, especially services that vulnerable populations need. But it’s irritating to me that many of the same people now defending the lottery, a very regressive tax concentrated on a very vulnerable group of gambling addicts, would likely balk at an increase in the sales tax, even though that would be a much less nasty way to raise money for needed programs.