Pennsylvania 13 casinos are up in arms against the state’s new iLottery games on grounds that the iLottery online games violated state law and will intrude in their online gambling sites that are yet to be launched. As such, the Keystone State’s casinos have been seeking the suspension of the iLottery games by the Wolf administration – they have gone further to threaten to take action through the court if the administration fails to take the necessary actions.
In a letter addressed to Revenue Secretary Daniel Hassel on June 27, the casinos argued that the games that the state iLottery are offering will, in some ways, resemble slot machines and this is a violation of the gaming law that was passed in last year. To put these claims into perspective, the casinos alleged that the state lottery’s games have the same backbone as a slot machine in the sense that the outcome is determined by a random number generator with visual depictions being provided by computer operations and animated graphics.
According to the Keystone State’s 13 casinos, the iLottery program in virtually every way mimics a casino operation when they offer simulated casino-style games that directly contradict the law which prohibited the Lottery from “offering interactive lottery games which simulate casino-style games.” Furthermore, as far as age is concerned, 18-year-olds are allowed to play the iLottery games while for individuals to be allowed to access casinos games, they have to be at least 21-years-old.
“If these same individuals tried to play the same games at our casinos… the players would be prosecuted and placed on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s exclusion list, while we would face tens of thousands of dollars in PGCB-imposed fines,” the casino operators pointed out their letter.
Pennsylvania was the fourth state in the United States to legalize online gambling after Governor Wolf signed the state’s comprehensive gambling expansion bill into law in October last year. The law allowed and paved the way for intrastate online poker, online casino and sports betting which would be offered alongside online lottery sales, video gaming terminals at a number of truck stops, new satellite casinos as well as daily fantasy sports.
Pennsylvania’s 11 iLottery games were officially rolled out in May 2018 with players being offered the opportunity to win up to $250,000. According to the state’s administration, the on-line expansion of the lottery was a way of giving it a more competitive footing alongside the other forms of gambling.
The 13 casinos are yet to apply for online gambling licenses but their complaints are probably the sign we have all been waiting for in order to confirm that they are indeed interested in getting a piece of the online gambling action.