Skip to main content

Pennsylvania Casinos Urge Court to Suspend Some Lottery Games amid Rising Popularity of Games of Skill

Casinos in Pennsylvania have turned to a court, asking it to block the state lottery’s use of online games with immediate effect, claiming that these games are very much alike regular casino games.

The beginning of the week saw Pennsylvania’s casinos file the necessary paperwork, seeking an injunction in the lawsuit which claims that some of the online games provided by the state lottery are in breach of the 2017 state law that made them legal. According to the claims in the 8-month-old lawsuit, the lottery’s online games actually simulate casino-style gambling and slot machines.

The request for an authoritative warning was made about six weeks before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which regulates the state’s gambling sector, has explained that it would be ready to give permission to casinos to start offering their games online. Back in 2017, Pennsylvania became the first state to give the green light to online games for both commercial casinos and the state lottery.

Both the lottery and local casinos are trying to attract younger players to their operations, while state lawmakers have been seeking new sources of revenue which would help them meet constantly increasing program costs.

Games of Skill Blamed for Draining Lottery Revenue

According to some analysts, the state of Pennsylvania has become increasingly dependent on gambling revenue over the past ten years, while trying to balance its ailing budget.

Apart from online games offered by the Pennsylvania Lottery, so-called games of skill, which pretty much resemble slot machines and were once found primarily in liquor establishments, have also turned into a major concern. Such machines still remain illegal across the state, despite they can be found at some locations in Pennsylvania. According to opponents of the machines, they are only diverting people from the State Lottery, as retailers that usually offer the machine also sell lottery tickets, too. He estimated losses for the Pennsylvania Lottery amount to about $2,284 per machine on a monthly basis.

Local Senator Tommy Tomlinson has introduced Senate Bill 710, which seeks to impose stricter penalties and fines on everyone who make, maintain, assemble, sell or lease the games, which are said to have cost the lottery approximately $138 million in the past year. According to games’ proponents, this is not the only harm inflicted on the State Lottery. To make things worse, some retailers are not taking part in the two new products provided by the Pennsylvania Lottery which were officially introduced in 2018, Xpress Sports and Keno.

Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s executive director, Rebecca May-Cole, has revealed that monetary contributions of the Lottery to some local programs are already hardly sufficient. According to data provided by Ms. May-Cole, about 3,900 people are on the waiting list for services which are paid through the monetary contributions made by the lottery.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.