The Keystone State’s new online lottery, the iLottery, launched its instant win online tickets a little over a month ago, and so far the games are doing even better than anyone expected. The Pennsylvania Lottery reports that in its first month of operation, 45,000 players registered on the online platform and then collectively wagered a whopping $21.6 million – the online lottery games generated $2.9 million by themselves. These numbers are quite promising especially if we put into consideration the fact that the state’s online lottery is still in what is best described as a ‘soft-launch phase.’
The Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre reports that Jeffrey Johnson, the director of the state’s Department of Revenue Communication has expressed his support for the lottery. Mr. Johnson says that the initiative is indeed a major asset to both state coffers and government programs.
“PA iLottery games are a fun, new way to play and win from home or while on the go. iLottery is a big part of our effort to meet our players where they already are while generating new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians,” Director Jeffrey Johnson said.
Are Pa Casino Operators Panicking?
While everyone is singing praises for the new program especially because it introduces a boost for Pennsylvania’s financial bottom line, not everybody is excited about what the iLottery has been doing. the state’s 12 casinos have recently raised complaints to protest against the iLottery arguing that it violated the state’s gambling laws that gave the land-based casinos exclusive rights to offer slot and other casino-style games – the iLottery has been promoting over a dozen slot games.
“In virtually every way imaginable, Lottery’s iLottery program mimics a casino operation offering simulated casino-style games in direct contravention of (the law’s) express prohibition on Lottery offering ‘interactive lottery games which simulate casino-style games.’,” the casinos’ letter to Governor Tom Wolf read.
Even though the concerns seemed to be genuinely based on violations of the Keystone State’s gaming expansion laws, there has been a lot of speculation that the brick-and-mortar casino operator is not comfortable with the possibility of the PA online lottery raking in $1.2 billion every year in online sales.
According to the state’s online lottery laws, online lottery games do “not include games that represent physical, Internet-based or monitor-based interactive lottery games which simulate casino-style lottery games, specifically including poker, Roulette, slot machines and Blackjack.”
As such, the iLottery was forced to change somethings. This included shifting their marketing tactics and stopping the use of phrases such as “casino-style” and “slot-style” in its adverts. Nevertheless, if the revenue statistics are anything to go by, then this is just a minor setback that will have little, if any effect on the iLottery’s financial bottom line.