Forget for a moment the questions surrounding Gov. Tom Corbett's decision to turn over management of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a private, foreign firm.

Questions like is it necessary, wise or even legal.

Amid complaints about the secrecy of the negotiations, a lawsuit by state workers and threats by the state treasurer to withhold payments to the company, the administration finalized a 20-year contract with British-based Camelot Global Services to manage the state-owned lottery.

That deal is done -- unless, of course, an ongoing review by Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane finds it flawed.

Camelot, which runs the United Kingdom lottery, has guaranteed a return of at least $34.6 billion over the life of the contract, which Corbett says is $3 billion to $4.5 billion more than the lottery could achieve under state management.

That's according to The Associated Press, which reports the company hopes to achieve that by expanding the scope of lottery games, such as with keno, and attracting more players.

But here's a question we might want to be asking ourselves: Is this what we want?

Yes, the money benefits programs for Pennsylvania's senior citizen population, which is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.


The state needs to find a way to increase funding for those programs, which include free and shared ride transit services, property tax and rent rebates, long-term care and family caregiver support services.

However, the $34.6 billion Camelot promises isn't a given.

In attempting to achieve it, the company will have to aggressively encourage even more Pennsylvanians to, for the most part, throw their money down the drain.

Many of these people very likely can't afford it -- and might not even be able to control it.

Is it right to tempt them even more with the lure of riches most of them will only see in their dreams?

Not that long ago, Pennsylvania's biggest gambling vice was the lottery.

Anyone craving anything stronger had to drive to Atlantic City, N.J., or to one of the Native American-run casinos in a neighboring state.

That changed in 2004 when state lawmakers approved slot-machine gambling, mostly at Pennsylvania race tracks, with most of the revenue dedicated to property tax relief.

It hasn't been much of a relief, actually -- even after the Legislature gave the OK for table games in 2010, making the 11 slots parlors full-fledged casinos.

That's despite the fact revenue from the casinos increased 4.4 percent last year, to $3.1 billion. That was enough to again beat Atlantic City as the second-largest gambling market behind Las Vegas.

Camelot's plan to expand the lottery is vague enough that it's worrying some lawmakers, though not because of an expansion of gambling, per se. No, they're concerned the company will be so successful that it will draw business from Pennsylvania's casinos.

Five Republican state senators recently wrote to Corbett asking for assurances Camelot wouldn't compete with the casinos by offering online gambling.

Look how far we've come.

Less than 10 years ago the highest we rolled was the daily number.

When it comes to gambling, it seems Pennsylvania is all in.

So how else might Camelot increase lottery revenue if the casinos continue hoarding all the chips?

Well, as The Patriot-News pointed out Tuesday, the company recently announced plans to double the price of lottery tickets in the United Kingdom ...