Seven PA Casinos Object To PA iLottery

Seven PA Casinos Object To PA iLottery

PA online lottery lawsuit filed

The Pennsylvania online lottery, officially known as the iLottery, went live with real money games in May. Since the launch, the games have caught on with players, generating $21 million during June.

PA casinos have been balking for weeks and are now trying to put a stop to some iLottery games, citing concerns that the games have too much similarity to online casino games. On Wednesday, these objections came to head as seven PA casinos filed a lawsuit to shut the program down.

The complaint was filed against the Pennsylvania Revenue Department, which operates the Pennsylvania Lottery. A total of seven Pennsylvania casinos were involved in the filing: Hollywood Casino, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Parx, The Meadows Casino, Stadium Casino, Valley Forge and Mohegan Sun. Sands Casino Bethlehem was the most notable casino not on the list.

PA casinos voice their complaints

Pennsylvania casinos have a number of objections to the online lottery in PA, which they argue give the casinos a competitive disadvantage.

The main complaint from casinos is that PA online lottery games are expanding beyond the core “instant” games that lotteries are generally well known for. Some of the games that have launched, they argue, have too much in common with online casinos games, which was described in a complaint filed on Wednesday.

“All of the iLottery games feature the same user interface as a slot machine, and have the same interactive appearance, feel and play experience that a player would expect from land-based and online slot machines. These features include graphics, animation, suspenseful music, flashing lights, bells or sounds played when combinations are hit, and similar visual and auditory features.”

In addition to the games possible infringement on their turf, there may be other areas where PA casinos are feeling slighted, notably on the issue of accessibility.

PA online lottery games are available to players who are 18 years or older, whereas online casinos are limited to players that are 21 years of age or older. Add this to the fact that the PA iLottery launched in May and has been quickly expanding with new games while online casinos are only in the application and approval stages and paid millions of dollars for their licenses.

The casinos state that only “licensed” operators can operate internet-based games that simulate slot machines and casino-style gambling.

The Lottery has yet to officially respond to the lawsuit but a spokesman for the lottery said that Act 42 in the gambling expansion bill authorized the new games. Both sides seem to agree that the iLottery can run instant win games that mirror scratch-off tickets, but PA casinos object to simulated casino games, which they say cross the line.