This month, a group of Pennsylvania casinos joined forces to petition that a state court step in to bar, or at least limit, the Pennsylvania Lottery from offering online games.
The group attests that the iLottery games in question bear too similar a resemblance to casino slots, poker and other games of chance. The group received exclusive franchising rights in 2017 when Pennsylvania’s gambling laws expanded to include more widely accepted gambling operations and offerings from the state’s licensed gambling institutions.
The same 2017 expansion law permitted the Pennsylvania Lottery to offer online games to players, as well.
What the Pennsylvania injunction says
The injunction, filed by the casino group with the Commonwealth Court, alleges several infringements on its franchising rights. Launched in May of 2018, the lottery stands accused of:
- Providing games with matching titles and themes of games found on casino floors throughout the state, as well as those found available online in other states’ gambling industries.
- Delivering payouts of an average of 85% to players, a percent equal to the minimum required payout percentage for slot machines, while the traditional lottery payout percentage has only been 40%.
- Offering games with ticket prices in nickel and dime denominations, a wagering characteristic typical of casino games, though not for traditional lottery games.
- Maintaining exclusive rights to provide said games through an agreement between the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and game developers. The group contends that this is an indirect admission of equivalence between iLottery games and casino games.
- Providing games that have met compliance standards and have been certified under casino gaming standards set by the United Kingdom’s and New Jersey’s internet gambling regulators.
According to a spokesman for the casino group, David La Torre, the Pennsylvania casinos, “ are not opposed to iLottery — only simulated, casino-style games.” He went on to double down on the statement with, “In fact, casinos are supportive of the lottery’s mission and provide space for lottery ticket vending machines on their casino floors. Some have become the best-selling outlets of lottery tickets in Pennsylvania.”