Pennsylvania Casinos Want To Ban iLottery Games
Casinos in Pennsylvania are up in arms about the state's new online lottery games. There are 13 casino operators in the state and all of them want these iLottery games to be suspended since they feel that it is direct competition against their own online games which are yet to go live.
Casino operators have called on lawmakers to suspend and reorganized the iLottery program so that the program is more in line with what they feel is lawful and competitive.
However, State legislators and the Department of Revenue which runs the iLottery program are being silent on matter. Casino operators have threatened legal proceedings if they don’t get a response from the government before July 3.
iLottery In Conflict With Online Casino Games
Gov. Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania’s expanding online gambling laws towards the end of 2017 and the iLottery came into play. The iLottery program consists of 11 games bundled together and allows PA residents to play them on their desktop or mobile. The expanded gaming laws also allowed iGaming operators to enter the keystone market.
This has caused a problem for casinos as they have to shell out $10 million in licensing fees to obtain an online gambling license. After paying so much in licensing fees, they then face the added competition coming in from the iLottery. Casino operators are pointing out that the expanded gambling law prohibits the iLottery program to operate any games that are similar to casino-style games like roulette, slots, and blackjack.
The operators argue that many of the games offered by the iLottery program violate this rule and that they use the same technology as popular slot machines. Additional similarities include how the games measure bets in pennies and dimes, as well as prize multipliers. The operators also point out that the advertising of the iLottery program even points this out, boasting about ‘casino-style’ games for players to enjoy.
iLottery Program Getting Special Treatment?
Casino operators are also upset over the fact that iLottery games can accept players over 18 years old to play, while casinos can only accept players who are over the age of 21.
In a letter to the state administration, the operators wrote
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 PGCB-imposed fines.
The operators also pointed out that they asked for a demonstration of iLottery games before it was opened, but they were refused. If legislators do not respond next week, legal action will be the next step from the casino industry.