Whether it's Gus or Penny doing the marketing, York County residents have questions about what the fate of Pennsylvania lottery privatization means for them.
Many want to know what the money pays for, why it's needed and why the lottery might be put in the hands of an offshore company.
A room full of older Yorkers at the Heritage Senior Community Center in Dover listened Friday as state Secretary of Aging Brian Duke and Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, sifted through misinformation and worked to explain the privatization of the lottery in a clear manner.
The Pennsylvania lottery has not been sold, they said. Instead, it signed a management agreement with United Kingdom-based Camelot Global Services PA, LLC.
"We need to keep the profit in Pennsylvania. Aren't there people here as equally imaginative as in Great Britain?" said Dover resident Larry Snook.
The state's current lottery vendor, Scientific Games Corp., is based in Georgia.
"We live in a global economy," Grove said. "BAE in West Manchester Township is British owned. Turnpike stops were built under contract with an Italian company, and businesses here are doing work overseas."
Camelot incorporated in Pennsylvania and would pay all the taxes any other Pennsylvania business would, Grove said. But that deal may not come to fruition.
Camelot's bid was set to expire Friday, but was extended to March 18. State Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the 20- and 30-year contract signed by Gov. Tom Corbett, claiming the governor overstepped his constitutional authority and challenged the legality of the contract.
The uncertainty surrounding the deal has put the state Department of Aging in a day-to-day mode in terms of budget concerns, Duke said.
In Corbett's proposed budget, $672 million is designated for the Department of Aging and the Pharmaceutical Assistant Contract for the Elderly, which helps seniors pay for prescriptions.
If the Camelot deal is finalized, an additional $50 million in revenue would be available, money the state's aging population really needs, Duke said.
Of York County's 475,000 residents, 18 percent are adults 60 years old or older. That's about 87,000 people, and that number is expected to grow, he said.
The Department of Aging works to help those older residents by enabling them to live long and healthy, independent lives, and the agency also protects seniors from abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment, Duke said.
The 600 senior centers in the state cater to the aging population, but they are also facing challenges, Duke said.
"The increase in older adults is growing faster than the nation and faster than the state can handle," said Dianna Benaknin, director of the York County Area Agency on Aging.
There's a growing trend of seniors living past 85 years old. They're staying independent longer, but they often still need help with transportation and nutrition, she said.
"That can be a challenge in the rural areas of York County," Benaknin said.
There are 10 senior centers and five nutrition centers in the county, working to meet the needs of seniors. Heritage Senior Community Center is one of those nutrition centers and serves 76 meals a day, she said.
It's also a facility for recreation, and after the lottery talk Dover Township seniors Bill Ruby and Sandy Schenandore challenged Duke and Grove to an intense game of Wii bowling.
State budget challenges threaten programs for older adults and senior centers like Heritage, Duke said. The governor's plan for aging Pennsylvanians, which includes lottery privatization, delegates money to directly to local communities, he said.
"These are the places our seniors are spending their time and turn to for help, and we need to help them do that," Benaknin said.
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