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Gov. Tom Corbett is taking steps toward hiring a private company to run the Pennsylvania state lottery, the latest move by the Republican to shift state services to the private sector.

The administration has briefed top lawmakers and labor union representatives on an idea it is billing as an effort to improve cash flow to better afford the rising cost of programs for the elderly.

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley declined to comment on the matter Saturday, but a person familiar with the process said the administration will announce today that it is issuing a request for qualifications from private companies that are interested in managing the nation’s sixth-largest lottery.

An interested company will have 30 days to respond, according to the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the person didn’t want to be identified revealing details of the announcement before it happens. Other governors, such as Ohio’s John Kasich, have raised the idea recently, though states are limited by federal guidelines as to the extent of control that a private company can have.

For instance, a 2008 memorandum from the U.S. Department of Justice said it’s permissible for a state to contract with a private lottery manager but not to hand significant control of it to the company in exchange for a large upfront payment or an annual payment.

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