Doldrums no more.

Sports fans now have the chance to bet on virtual, fictional football games and car races every five minutes through a pair of new Pennsylvania Lottery games: Xpress Football and Xpress Car Racing by Scientific Games.

This past week, the Lottery launched the two games. Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said in a press release that the dual launch is part of the organization’s effort to boost revenue and stay relevant.

“We expect that our Xpress Sports games will also be a big hit with our players,” Svitko said. “These games are part of our continuing mission to modernize our business and generate new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians.”

Both games simulate real sporting events via monitors at participating location, with bettors given the option of choosing the outcome of the drive or race.

Xpress Football: The details

Per the PA Lottery, gamblers can make one of 16 bets for each round of Xpress Football. New rounds start every five minutes.

The round begins with a fictional team driving on the 20-yard-line. Bettors can choose one of 16 outcomes:

  • Touchdown pass on 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th play and beyond
  • Touchdown run on 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th play and beyond
  • Turnover 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th play and beyond
  • Field goal

Once the bet has been made at a PA Lottery location, bettors can watch on a big screen as the action unfolds. The pregame sequence includes stats about each team’s pass TD/run TD/turnover/field goal percentages, although a promo video notes that the stats have nothing to do with the outcome of the game.

After the pregame sequence, the action picks up “on or within” the 20-yard-line, where the team on offense runs plays until they score a touchdown.

Prizes range from $120 (turnover on 1st play) to $8 (field goal).

Xpress Car Racing: The details

In Xpress Car Racing, bettors get to choose from one of five different bets based on a 12-car, two-lap race around an oval track:

  • 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place finishers in exact order
  • 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place finishers in any order
  • 1st- and 2nd-place finishers in exact order
  • 1st- and 2nd-place finishers in any order
  • 1st-place finisher

Much like Xpress Football, there’s a pre-race screen that reveals race data: car number and racer name, as well as the results of the past seven races.

Those race results, the PA Lottery notes, are not predictors of future finishes.

Races begin every five minutes. The actual race is in the vein of video-game stock car racing. Racers jockey for position around the track and the race is over relatively quickly.

Payouts are according to the following tiers:

  • Trifecta: $250
  • Three finishers in any order: $40
  • First two finishers, correct order: $20
  • First two finishers, any order: $5
  • First-place finishers: $2

PA Lottery expansion continues

Since this past May, the PA Lottery’s future started to unfold but not as quickly as some had hoped. Pennsylvania’s 2017 gambling expansion law provided the legal framework for the lottery to expand its operations to include online lottery games as well as in-person games like keno and virtual sports.

While it was anticipated that virtual sports would be part of the May roll-out, it wasn’t. Keno stole the headlines and, for a short time, was the primary sign of augmented lottery life in a post-gambling-expansion area.

That soon changed when the PA Lottery announced the launch of its iLottery, through which gamblers could play instant win games.

With this past week’s announcement of what amounts to a pair of virtual sports games, the lottery continues its methodical roll-out of new forms of gaming.