It’s been a good run for the Pennsylvania Lottery.
In the time since former Gov. Tom Wolf passed Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion bill in Oct. 2017, the PA Lottery launched several different types of games, including PA iLottery instant-win games. All of this has come without in-state competition in the online space.
However, that reign prosperity may come to an end in a very short amount of time. Not only is online gambling in PA just a couple of months away. Neighboring Ohio is considering launching an online lottery as well.
Ohio planning to launch iLottery
One danger to the Pennsylvania iLottery may emerge from Ohio within a year’s time.
This past weekend, Cleveland.com reported that lottery officials want to launch an iLottery in less than a year.
Speaking with Cleveland.com, Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald said going online is just common sense based on prevailing shopping preferences.
“By allowing additional methods of purchasing existing content, the lottery can keep up with the way people have become accustomed to buying everything from music and books to their groceries.”
That move could cut into the PA lottery’s profits. Geolocation rules require that you have to physically be in Pennsylvania to play the PA iLottery.
Therefore, Ohio residents that might be driving across the border to play in PA would no longer need to make the trek. Those residents will soon not even have to leave their homes to get the same action PA provided.
Online gambling expected to launch this summer
Meanwhile, the PA Lottery also has to prepare for in-state competition.
PA online gambling has been a much-anticipated facet of the Pennsylvania gambling scene ever since Oct. 2017. However, the implementation of gambling websites has progressed much slower than anticipated.
There were rumblings at the beginning of the year that casinos were finalizing plans to launch online gambling sites. A launch seemed imminent.
However, a surprise decision from the Department of Justice regarding the Wire Act put those plans on hold. The DOJ concluded that effectively all forms online gambling fell under the purview of the Wire Act. Practically speaking, this meant money and data was not allowed to cross state lines. This made it tricky for online operators who had servers in other states like New York, for example.
That development put any plans to launch online casinos in a holding pattern. Thankfully, though, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole testified earlier this year that no the DOJ decision did not deter casinos who paid $10 million for an online casino license.
This, in theory, was not good news for the iLottery. An onslaught of online gambling sites would most likely mean decreased traffic to its online games.
Ironically, the PA casinos filed a lawsuit against the Lottery because its online games resembled online casinos. At the time of publication, that suit was still active.