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The Pennsylvania (PA) iLottery was launched in May 2018 as part of an overall expansion of gambling in the region. Current gambling laws in the state were passed in October 2017.
Some other states have also introduced instant win lottery products recently, including Kentucky, Georgia, Illinois, and Michigan. Pennsylvania officials were able to use Michigan’s successful iLottery platform as a case study for their own.
History of lotteries in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Lottery was first created by the General Assembly in 1971, with the first lottery held in 1972. According to law, 27% or more of the revenues derived from the state lottery must go towards the funding of defined public programs, and 40% or more must be allocated for the lottery prize pool.
For the majority of states with their own lottery, most of the proceeds go towards education. Pennsylvania, however, uses most of their lottery revenue to help their senior citizens and other groups which have traditionally been underserved. Since the lottery was first launched in 1972, almost $28 billion has gone towards these senior-citizen programs.
In December 2011, the United States Department of Justice issued a new legal interpretation of the Federal Wire Act and determined the act was only applicable to sports betting. Therefore, states were suddenly given the all clear to proceed with online lotteries.
On October 25, 2017, Bill H 271 was passed by the Pennsylvania Senate, which allowed for gambling expansion in the state. It passed through the state House the following day. After Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law on October 31, 2017, Pennsylvania became the fourth state in the United States to have online gambling legalized.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Gaming Oversight Committee is the overseer for the Pennsylvania Online Lottery. It appears, however, that much of the regulation will be self-imposed.
The state’s Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell spoke about responsible gambling in February 2018 to the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives. He said that the iLottery platform would allow people to block themselves from participating in any of the online lottery offerings for as long as five years. Users would also be legally barred from using a credit card to play online games.
Since there have been significant deficits in the PA state budget, most of this new lottery revenue will go towards the general needs of the state. Governor Wolf believes that the state will benefit by as much as $75 million in the coming five years following the allowance of this iLottery platform.
PA online lottery fact sheet
|Oversight:||Pennsylvania House of Representatives Gaming Oversight Committee|
|Available to:||Anyone physically located in Pennsylvania|
|Proceedings benefit:||Elder Pennsylvanians|
Participating players must be at least 18 years old and located inside Pennsylvania state borders at the time of purchasing their tickets. Players must prove their identity by providing the last four digits of their social security number. They must also be willing to submit scans of a government-issued ID when requested.
The Pennsylvania lottery website uses geolocation technology to verify players’ location based on their IP address. If a player attempts to buy real-money tickets while outside state borders, they’ll be denied access and redirected to a page listing the lottery’s participation requirements.
Pennsylvania lottery games
The state has launched its new iLottery online platform in conjunction with Global Payments Gaming Solutions, allowing participants to buy tickets online and redeem any prize money won through the platform. There are a variety of instant win games that are offered on a desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
In regards to this development, Pennsylvania’s Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said, “Online and mobile gaming is a natural evolution for the Pennsylvania Lottery and Global Payments is helping us make the consumer experience frictionless as we modernize our business and generate new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians.”
The Scientific Games Corporation is the provider of these new digital lottery products. The company provides software for over 150 lotteries across the world, including the majority of North American lotteries.
Players have the chance to win as much as $250,000 through some of these games. Digital Scratch-offs may utilize a graphical user interface instead of requiring players to scratch a physical ticket, but the principles behind these games are inherently the same.
As of July 2017, the list of instant games on offer includes:
- Foxin’ Wins
- Big Money Slingo
- Super Cash Buster
- Cash in the Lamp
- Super Gems
- Robin Hood
- Volcano Eruption
- Cash Buster Towers
- Crossword Cash
- Monster Wins
- Big Eats Little
- Ballroom Bingo
Deposits can be made using:
- Debit Cards
- ACH electronic checks
- PayNearMe deposits at 7-Eleven convenience stores
The minimum deposit size for all methods is $10.
Withdrawals are processed through ACH only and require up to 72 hours for processing. The minimum withdrawal is $10; there is no cap on the maximum.
Prize money less than $600 will be almost instantly deposited in a player’s online account. For payouts larger than $600, certain tax paperwork will be required.
The lottery automatically reports all winnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Since each player is required to submit the last four digits of their social security number when registering with the iLottery program, the IRS can link a player’s winnings to their relevant tax details.
If the payout is greater than $2500 there are extra verifications, such as ensuring there is no child support currently owed. Regarding taxation, winnings are subject to a 24% federal tax, with the Pennsylvania state tax of 3.07%.
The Pennsylvania lottery offers a mobile application for Android and iOS devices. The former can be downloaded from the lottery website, and the latter is available in the Apple App Store. Both apps can be used to play instant lottery games.
The Pennsylvania online lottery support team can be reached by:
- Using an email contact form
- Live Chat (24/7)
- Toll-free at 1-833-530-PLAY
There’s also an FAQ section with useful information on deposits and withdrawals, game rules, and account registration.