Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says online lottery sales should help turn around the fortunes of the state’s declining PA Lottery program.

According to Department of Revenue financial statements, the PA lottery posted $1.04 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year. However, that number was down more than $75 million from the previous fiscal year.

Now, in his budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year laid out earlier this month, Wolf claims new lottery games will bring in an additional $71 million. The new games include online lottery and Monitor Games games including  Virtual Sports and Keno.

Wolf announced a plan to launch Monitor Games at PA lottery retailers, bars, and taverns in October 2017.

Later that month, state lawmakers also passed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill authorizing the launch of online lottery sales, online slots, online poker, and online table games.

Improving the fiscal condition of the PA Lottery

The Governor’s Budget in Brief document says the government is taking steps to improve the fiscal condition of the Lottery:

“Act 42 of 2017 enables the Lottery to launch new product lines, including iLottery games and terminal-based games for virtual sports and keno. Both products are designed to appeal to new and younger players. Implementation of iLottery will allow players to access games through mobile devices. Introducing new Lottery players can also benefit existing Lottery retailers, as demonstrated in other states where iLottery has previously been implemented.

“Monitor-based games allow patrons to watch a simulated sports event or a number draw, most often in bars and taverns, again introducing Lottery games to a new group of players. When both products are fully implemented, they are expected to generate as much as $150 million annually to fund programs for older Pennsylvanians.”

The PA lottery plans to launch online lottery games this spring. Pennsylvania Lottery spokesperson Gary Miller told the Capitolwire news and information service (subscription) this week it is all a part of a plan to update an aging lottery program:

“(Online lottery represents) the most significant modernization in our more than 45-year history. We’ve been running on a business model that’s been basically unchanged since 1972. It’s important for the lottery to remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing business environment because older Pennsylvanians are counting on it.”

PA Lottery proceeds go to elderly residents

The Pennsylvania Lottery first launched 1972. All proceeds have gone to programs for elderly residents as mandated by the government since that time. This includes underwriting tax and rent rebates as well as prescription drug subsidies for eligible senior citizens.

In January, PA Lottery spokesperson Jeffrey A. Johnson told online lottery sales will generate up to $250 million in new profits over the first five years.

Other major initiatives in the Governor’s $33 billion budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year include increasing funding for public schools and raising the minimum wage. Plus, Wolf plans to place a new tax on natural gas drillers.

The budget takes effect July 1 if approved by the state legislature.

Photo by George Sheldon /