Didn't we export enough of our jobs to foreign countries?

Gov. Tom Corbett is weighing a 20- to 30-year agreement with Camelot Global Services of England to manage the $3.5 billion lottery, an unusually lengthy contract in Pennsylvania.

Why would Pennsylvania hire a British firm to run the state's lottery? Why for such a long duration?

Is the state too incompetent to operate its own lottery? Are there no firms in the state - or even the nation - capable of operating the lottery if privitization is deemed necessary?

What happens to big prize winners who take their jackpots in 20-year annuities if the British firm goes bankrupt or falls short on funding for paying the winners? Will our state's taxpayers be stuck with the bill?

It's a lot more difficult to sue and/or obtain judgments from foreign firms than American companies.

Isn't it time America - and individual states - handle their own affairs? This should include the Pennsylvania Lottery; because as the name implies, it's "Pennsylvania."

Already Pennsylvania contracts with out-of-state firms to handle tourism promotion and other services.

Letting a foreign firm handle an entity as successful and wealthy as the lottery is just wrong. No matter how one looks at it, it's taking control from the state's political leaders and residents, and could potentially create complications for lottery players.

Corbett has said he is gauging whether to hand over day-to-day management of one of the nation's largest state lotteries in exchange for Camelot's guarantee of stable profits that, in theory, keep better pace with demand for programs that benefit the state's growing elderly population.

Camelot is the only bidder for the management agreement and the union that represents the current state lottery employees is in the process of making a counteroffer to the state.

One of the things which could happen with the privitization is an expansion of lottery gambling, such as the addition of online ticket sales or games, keno terminals in bars or restaurants and an aggressive new search to add more lottery retailers.

There's no reason the state has to add keno terminals in bars or restaurants. All it will do is pry more money from residents who can least afford gambling.

Further, the state has established locations for casinos - legalized gambling houses - without adding bars and other hard-to-regulate facilities.

Lawmakers should scrap the plan of having a British firm operate the Pa. Lottery. It's a total injustice to the state's residents.

It it comes down to being a union issue in which unionized lottery employees are seeking too many demands, then maybe the political leaders should take a stronger stand in negotiations. If a strike occurs because of those demands, so be it. Let the lottery remain idle until a fair solution occurs.

But don't let another foreign firm operate one of the state's finest assets.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com