Health - July 19, 2013

PA Lottery hits sales record

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Lottery reported that it had achieved record sales numbers and profits.  Final sales numbers for the fiscal year that ended on June 30 were $3.7 billion; up about six percent from last year or $219 million.  Profits hit just over $1 billion increasing just under one percent or $6.5 million. Profit margin did shrink “from about 30 percent to below 28 percent as the cost of sales rose by nearly $200 million.”

Even with the record sales and profits, Governor Tom Corbett is still fighting to be able to hire Camelot Global Services to run the lottery.  The firm would operate the lottery on a long term contract with promises of $34 billion in profits over the life of the contract which would be 20-30 years.  The union representing lottery employees is opposed and “sued to challenge the legality of the move.”  In February, State Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the contract, saying it was illegal.  Camelot has extended its bid through July 31 in order to all the Corbett administration time to get approval from Kane’s office.  Even if Kane approves the revised contract, State Treasurer Rob McCord has said he might not pay the company until he knows for sure that Camelot’s plan to expand lottery gambling is legal in Pennsylvania.  Camelot currently operates the British lottery and only three other states have hired other private firm to operate their lottery systems, including Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey.

Pennsylvania’s Marchellus shale brings internatioal interest

On July 16ththe Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce, and the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Great Philadelphia signed “sister chambers” agreement. The agreement, which will promote cooperation and foster business investment opportunities, was signed on the same day as the opening of Chile’s new consulate in Philadelphia.

Governor Corbett travelled to Chile in April for a trade mission and subsequently the Chilean government is now in the midst of a three day trade visit to Pennsylvania. Bernardo Larrain, chairman of Chilean energy company Colbun, said that the main objective of the visit is to discuss potential shale gas trade opportunities with the Corbett administration. He stated that, “Demand for energy in Chile is growing, and Pennsylvania produces a lot of natural gas, so I think there’s a good potential for association with the sate of Pennsylvania.” The Delaware River already receives 52% of the total fruit exports from Chile to the US, which accounted for $801 million in 2010. The “sister chambers” agreement would further strengthen ties with Chile by calling for the exchange of legal, financial, and economic information to enhance the business relationship between the country and state.

Chile is currently one of Pennsylvania’s largest export destinations.  Exports were valued at $316.8 million in 2011 and there is already a free trade agreement between the US and Chile. These factors along with this recently signed “sister chambers” agreement could lead to an extremely profitable economic cooperation. Marcellus shale gas could improve Pennsylvania’s economy through international investments along with the number of domestic jobs that the industry will create for local communities. The future of the shale gas industry looks promising with Chile and, just recently, the Ukraine, who a couple of months ago sent representatives to establish dialogue with Pennsylvania’s leadership.