Online slots, table games, and poker are coming to Pennsylvania. However, it now appears the PA Lottery will get there first.

Pennsylvania became the fourth US state to legalize online gambling in 2017. State lawmakers passed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill in the fall of last year.

Additionally, the new law regulates video gaming terminals (VGTs) at approved truck stops and tablet gaming in approved airports. It also authorizes the construction of up to ten satellite casinos at locations a specified distance from one of Pennsylvania’s 12 existing casinos. Plus, it allows the state to start online lottery sales.

No timeline for online gambling

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is going about the business of setting up regulations and licensing online gambling operators. But there is no set timeline for when the process will conclude and the online gambling market will open up.

However, a PA Lottery spokesperson told the local press online lottery games that can be played online, on a computer or mobile device, will likely hit the market this spring.

A spokesperson for the gaming board told Trib Total Media it is currently talking with PA casinos interested in applying for the three types of online gaming licenses it will ultimately offer.

This includes individual licenses for online slots, online poker, and online table games at a cost of $4 million each. Although, PA casinos will be able apply for all three at once at a reduced licensing fee of $10 million.

However, the board says it has yet to put together the regulations that will guide the licensing process and the games themselves.

In fact, the board has admitted it has no time frame for when this regulatory process will begin, or end.

PA Lottery ready to go online as soon as March

In the meantime, the PA Lottery appears ready to start online lottery ticket sales on its website, a newly designed mobile app, and lottery retail monitors, as early as late March.

According to the state, lottery sales have helped put more than $1 billion a year for the past six years into programs designed to serve Pennsylvania seniors. However, coming off a 35 percent increase in sales between 2010 and 2016, lottery sales dipped 3 percent last year.

As a result, a PA Lottery spokesperson said the lottery wants to go online in an effort to modernize its business model. It’s also hoping to better compete in the face of growing competition from other forms of entertainment.

No decision has been made as to which games will be for sale online. However, PA Lottery officials have confirmed the online games will also be available on monitors at lottery retailers across the state.

Adding to existing lottery revenues

Hopes are the new games will add to lottery revenues rather than cannibalize traditional ticket sales. In fact, PA Lottery officials say the new games could generate up to $250 million in new profits over the first five years.

Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Kentucky, North Dakota, and North Carolina are the only other states that currently offer online lottery sales.

The Illinois Lottery was the first to go online in 2012. It generated close to $20 million in online sales last year. Michigan reported more than $90 million in online lottery sales last year, helping overall lottery sales increase seven percent.