Pennsylvania passed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill in October 2017 that legalized online lottery sales inside the state. State lottery officials announced in January 2018 that the first internet lottery games would roll out sometime in the spring.
What games will be available?
The Pennsylvania lottery offers a variety of games at thousands of lottery retailers across the state. The games include draw games, scratch-offs, Fast Play, and Monitor Games.
The PA lottery will likely make tickets for its most-popular draw games available online. Plus, lottery officials say they will be rolling out iLottery games similar to online slots or Video Lottery Terminal games at launch. These games may also include electronic versions of the state’s most popular scratch-offs.
The PA online lottery could also offer Keno and Virtual Sports Monitor Games.
The Pennsylvania Lottery is expected to start online sales of draw games in 2018. At launch, the games will likely include many of the same ones available at lottery retailers across the state, including:
- Mega Millions
- Pick 2, 3, 4, 5
- Pennsylvania Lottery Cash 4 Life
- Cash 5!
- Match 6 Lotto
- Treasure Hunt
- Millionaire Raffle
Powerball is one of the most popular multi-state draw games in the US. It is offered in 44 states, Washington, D.C., US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Most states that sell lottery tickets online sell Powerball tickets.
Tickets are just $2 each. Jackpots start at $40 million. Drawings are Wednesday and Saturday nights. Powerball is known for its massive jackpots, the largest of which was $1.6 billion.
Mega Millions is a similar multi-state lottery game offered in the same 44 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most states that sell lottery tickets online sell Mega Millions tickets online. Jackpots also start at $40 million. Mega Millions drawing days are Tuesday and Friday. Tickets cost $2.
The PA lottery could launch online sales of electronic versions of the same scratch-off games available at PA lottery retailers as part of its online offerings.
In other states offering electronic scratch-off games, the games feature a graphic interface replacing the traditional scratch-off ticket. The games are virtually the same. The object of a scratch-off or instant lottery ticket is often to match prize amounts or symbols leading to a prize.
There are more than 50 traditional scratch-offs available at retailers in Pennsylvania.
Some of the most popular PA scratch-off games include:
- $3 Bingo
- $10 50X the Bucks
- $20 Big Money Millionaire
- $5 $100,000 Wish List
- $20 $1 Million Pennsylvania Payout
- $20 All the Money Millionaire Edition
- $30 $3,000,000 Extreme Green
The PA Lottery will also launch its own iLottery games similar to electronic scratch-off games, online slots, or Video Lottery Terminal games that mimic traditional slot machines.
PA Lottery Fast Play games are similar to scratch-off games without the need to scratch. The games are available from PA Lottery retailers and self-service-touch-screen vending terminals. Fast Play tickets are printed on-demand.
These games may be made available online. Some of the most popular PA Lottery Fast Play games include:
- Fast Cash Bingo
- Triple Win
- Gold Fish
- Keystone Cash
- Lucky You
The PA online lottery may also include the same Keno and Virtual Sports Monitor Games available at select retailers across the state.
Keno is a fast-draw lottery game with drawings occurring every four minutes, seven days a week. Players try to match up to 10 of 20 numbers drawn. Monitors at retail locations display the outcome of each draw.
Virtual sports are fast-draw lottery games with simulated sporting events occurring every four to five minutes, seven days a week. Players wager on the outcome and the PA Lottery randomly generates animated sports-themed outcomes displayed on monitors at retail locations.
Pennsylvania online lottery account
In order to buy lottery tickets online, players will likely need to sign up for an account on the PA Lottery website. This is consistent with the process in other states offering online lottery sales.
PA players will need to be 18 years or older, have a valid PA address, and be within PA state borders in order to play online lottery games or buy lottery tickets online.
Players should be able to fund their accounts using a credit or debit card or by purchasing an online deposit card from a licensed lottery retailer in the state.
PA online lottery promos
At launch, the PA online lottery will likely offer special promotions to new players. These may include second-chance drawings or bonuses.
Players can also expect the PA online lottery to feature a player loyalty rewards program offering rewards points for volume play that players can trade in for free tickets or other prizes.
Making a deposit
You should be able to deposit funds securely into your PA Lottery online account using one of several methods, including:
- Major credit cards
- Debit cards
- Online deposit card from a licensed retailer
- Electronic bank transfer
- Online payment processor
The online deposit cards should be available at any one of thousands of PA Lottery retailers across the state. The cards should allow players to make online deposits without using other methods.
The PA online lottery will likely run similar to most other states with online lottery sales. That means wins up to $600 will automatically deposit into your PA Lottery online account. However, anything above that will likely need to be claimed in person at a PA Lottery office. Prizes of more than $50,000 will most definitely need to be claimed in person at PA Lottery headquarters.
The Pennsylvania online lottery and the law
In December 2011, the US Department of Justice released a legal opinion on the Federal Wire Act. The opinion was that it only applies to sports bets. This ultimately paved the way for individual states to allow lottery sales online. Several states soon started online lottery sales programs:
- Minnesota (since repealed)
- New Hampshire
Sales will begin in Pennsylvania sometime in the spring of 2018.
The Pennsylvania Lottery has been around since 1972. Its proceeds go to programs for elderly residents as mandated by the government.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board does not oversee the Pennsylvania Lottery. However, it does fall under the purview of the PA House of Representatives’ Gaming Oversight Committee. The PA Lottery will run its own online sales program with oversight by the same legislative committee.