Over the past few months, online gambling in Pennsylvania has grown immensely and this eventually led to the legalization and operation of the state’s iLottery industry which claimed to bring more to the players. However, in the past few weeks, the state’s operating casino developers forwarded a number of complaints. Consequently, the Pennsylvania iLottery has now agreed to make some changes in the way it advertises its games following the casino operators’ complaints which cited the use of such language as ‘slot-style’ and ‘casino-style’ as being legal.
As reported by The Patriot-News newspaper, Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, in October 2017 signed a law that legalized online gambling in the state a situation that the Pennsylvania Lottery quickly took advantage of by premiering a collection of interactive titles just about seven months letter. In order to protect the land-based casino operators, the legislation explicitly forbade the state-run iLottery from offering ‘interactive lottery games which simulate casino-style games’ – the iLottery is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
According to the Keystone State’s 13 casinos, the iLottery was not operating as per the term of the legislation and through their lawyer, Mark Stewart, they reportedly wrote a letter to Daniel Hassel, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. The letter alleged that the Pennsylvania iLotter’s new online games were directly and illegally intruding on the online gaming titles that the 13 casinos were hoping to offer – the letter suggested that the state’s iLottery games were directly mimicking casino games in virtually every way. It also called on the lottery to ‘work collaboratively with the gaming industry to develop a lawful iLottery program.’
The state’s casinos were also not amused about the fact that the Pennsylvania Lottery’s newly launched online games would be open to 18-year-olds while the age requirement for casino operators still stands at 21.
“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 Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board-imposed fines,” read Stewart’s letter.
At a glance, the verdict seems to be split one, that is, the Department of Revenue chose to afford both divides with one win and one loss. To summarize the verdict, the iLottery games will be forced to alter the way they market their products (part of what the casinos wanted) but the state lottery still has the right to keep offering their games. Now, the authority has agreed to change the way online lottery games are being marked in the public and will, therefore, no longer use “slot-style” or “casino-style” games when advertising. This should provide more than sufficient breathing space for the 13 casinos as they prepare to apply for the available online gambling licenses.