Sorry, not a winner.

Gov. Tom Corbett gambled that he had the sole authority to privatize Pennsylvania's $3.5 billion lottery, and he lost.

In her first major ruling, Kathleen Kane -- who became the first woman and Democrat to be elected state attorney general last November -- rejected a contract Corbett signed with a British company to run the state's lottery system for at least the next 20 years.

The Republican governor defended the deal with London-based Camelot Global Services, saying it would generate billions of dollars more for programs benefiting elderly Pennsylvanians.

Few would dispute the fact our senior population will grow significantly in the next few years, and the state needs to find more funds to keep up with services for them.

But this deal was not the way to go about it.

From the reasoning for turning over the 41-year-old lottery -- one of the largest in the country -- to an outside, foreign manager, to exactly how that company plans to boost profits, the process has been shrouded in secrecy.

Lawmakers, mostly Democrats, warned Corbett he was infringing on their turf, and several sued to stop the deal, as did a union representing lottery workers.

The Republicans controlling both the House and Senate, on the other hand, were mostly silent, aside from the occasional grumble.

Perhaps Corbett thought it was going to be a slam dunk; he certainly didn't seem to be bothered by the criticism.


He also might not have counted on Kane's election to attorney general, a post previously held by Corbett.

She had 30 days to review the contract, and last week agreed with what critics have said all along: The Legislature, not the governor, has the sole authority to make changes to the lottery system.

Some lawmakers, including most of the Republicans representing York County, were quick to call Kane's decision a political move.

We think not.

If it appears that way, that's because Kane did her job when the Republican majorities in the House and Senate failed to do theirs.

The governor can appeal the decision in court, although we suspect the judge would agree with the attorney general.

If lawmakers want to expand services for seniors, they will have to come up with a plan themselves, debate it in their chambers and sell it to their constituents.

That's the way it should have been done in the first place.