The PA Lottery was one of the key pillars of the Keystone State’s gambling expansion plans and with it came the PA online lottery which was launched specifically to monitor games like Xpress Sports and Keno. Since then, the Lottery has been on a roll and this can be proven by the reports from the previous fiscal year which is now on pace to be the best in its history. This has been confirmed by a recent statement made during a Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee earlier this month b Drew Svitko, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery:
“We’re on track for an all-time sales record, an all-time profit record. We’re currently estimating about $50 million ahead of the same point last fiscal year. We’re expecting to end the year $20 million ahead of estimate”
As it stands, the Pennsylvania Lottery boasts of close to 9,6000 retailers across the Keystone State and they have all contributed immensely to the lottery’s success. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the Lottery brought in 4.2 billion which is still very impressive despite being just a rather small improvement from the previous $4.13 billion.
This was further propelled by the launch of the iLottery games in 2018, something that was strongly opposed by the state’s casino operators. According to the executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery, the launch of the online lottery games was not meant to undermine the casinos but was “for us to be convenient for a new generation of lottery players” in a bid to be “relevant at delivering a different kind of entertainment experience.”
The Menace That Is Illegal Gambling
The Pennsylvania Lottery expected the newly-launched online lottery games alongside the virtual sports (Xpress Sports) and Keno that were also launched shortly after would drive it towards a targeted $300 million projection. Over the first six months, all of them contributed $9 million for the state’s senior citizens but this amount fell short of the lottery’s expectations and they blamed it on illegal gambling.
Svitko believes that the games of skill that exist bars, taverns as well as other public areas all through the state are “competition in the exact environments in which we’re trying to get our monitors”. He also noted that these illegal games of skill produce more returns for their owners and operators since they are not subject to taxation by the state.
“When we looked at that less than a year ago, it was a quarter of that impact,” Svitko added. “So, the impact is growing significantly and it absolutely represents a long-term risk for the Pennsylvania Lottery.”
Clearly, something has to be done to curb this problem but the issue is beginning to be overshadowed by the new Wire Act opinion which is likely to take center stage in the Lottery’s list of concerns.