Last Minute Memo Throws A Wrench In Wire Act Lawsuit

A late DOJ court filing includes a memo suggesting its new Wire Act interpretation does not apply to lottery. It could get the NH Lotto suit dismised.

The legal compass of the Wire Act has changed once more with a new 11th-hour filing. The DOJ filed new evidence, including a memo on how the new Wire Act opinion applies to state lotteries. Or rather, that it does not apply to state lotteries.

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DOJ conducting a review of state lotteries

In the memo the DOJ filed, state lotteries are exempt currently from the opinion issued by the DOJ OLC on January 15, 2019. That new opinion stated that any transmission of a bet or wager across state lines would violate the Wire Act.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated in the memo that Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion earlier this year did not address the issue of state lotteries or their vendors.

Vendors are companies like NeoPollard and Pollard Banknote that provide lottery technology. These companies successfully joined into the New Hampshire suit against the DOJ.

The DOJ alleges it is now conducting a review on the applicability of the Wire Act to state lotteries and will not be prosecuting such cases while the DOJ conducts the review. The group will look both at multi-state draw games like Powerball and Mega Million and online lottery games.

The 11th-hour legal maneuver by the DOJ

State lotteries and their vendors can breathe a heavy and collected sigh of relief for now. However, what follows from this new memo released by the DOJ is a downright brilliant and shrewd legal maneuver.

It is also one that can extricate the government from the pending litigation brought by New Hampshire and NeoPollard. The case impacts other states too. Many states with a stake in online gaming and lottery, including Pennsylvania, filed amici briefs in the case.

Because the DOJ exempts state lotteries and its vendors out of the most recent opinion regarding the Wire Act, this potentially leaves New Hampshire, NeoPollard, and Pollard Banknote with no standing to bring suit. The New Hampshire Circuit Court could dismiss the case because there is no expectation or fear of prosecution for violation of the Wire Act.

NeoPollard’s attorney speaks out

Matthew D. McGill of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, represents NeoPollard in the suit. He told Law360 (paywall) via email that the DOJ considers state lotteries as “felonies in progress.” McGill further stated:

“Desperate to avoid judicial review of its radical reinterpretation of the Wire Act, DOJ now is backtracking from the clear import of the reversal of position that it supposedly had so carefully considered. DOJ’s eleventh-hour statement that it may — or may not — further revise its interpretation of the Wire Act only underscores the arbitrariness of the reversal of DOJ’s long-held position that the Wire Act addresses only sports betting activities.”

As both sides have filed motions for summary judgment, all parties plus those who filed amici briefs will appear for oral arguments as scheduled on April 11.

Sheldon Adelson involved again

Two weeks ago, the National Association of Convenience Stores and Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) filed amici briefs on behalf of the DOJ. CSIG is made up of many conservative Christian groups. Sheldon Adelson founded the group in 2013. The convenience stores group has always opposed lottery expansion online.

This is not the first instance of alleged meddling by Adelson. NJ Attorney General, Grubir S. Grewal, filed a Freedom of Information Act request to uncover links between Adelson and the issuance of the January 15, 2019 OLC opinion. The Wall Street Journal has also alleged a direct link between Adelson and the DOJ’s OLC opinion.

What happens next for the DOJ Wire Act case?

The NH District Court is expected to rule on the summary judgment motion as early as May. An appeal will likely be filed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The First Circuit Court of Appeals has previously stated that the Wire Act only applies to ‘wagers on any sporting event or contest,’ that is, sports betting.”

PA Online Lottery Could Face Competition From Neighboring Ohio

With Ohio considering an online lottery and launch of PA online casinos just a couple months away, the PA online lottery is about to get some competition.

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.

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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.

March Madness: Three New PA Lottery Millionaires So Far This Month

Three PA Lottery players have collectively won more than $7.5 million from lotto games including Powerball and Cash 5 so far this March.

March Madness has hit the PA Lottery.

This past week, Pennsylvania’s state lottery delivered three jackpots worth a combined $7.5 million. The biggest victory was a $4.15 million Match 6 ticket sold in Doylestown, Bucks County.

That ticket matched all six winning numbers (20-21-28-35-36-45) to win the massive jackpot.

The winner will remain unknown until the prize is claimed and the ticket is verified.

PA Lottery presents record-breaking Cash 5 check

In contrast, the big winner in Berwick stepped into the spotlight this week. Columbia County resident Luther Coleman Jr. received a commemorative check worth almost $2.5 million.

A Sheetz in Coleman’s hometown sold the record-breaking ticket worth $2,488,733. The jackpot was the highest in the nearly 27-year history of the game. Cash 5 is the Pennsylvania Lottery’s longest-running jackpot game.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to congratulate the winner of this historic jackpot,” Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said in the state lottery’s press release.

Coleman, who has worked at a nuclear power plant in Berwick for more than 31 years, said that he’s a frequent player of lottery games.

Lottery jackpot arrives on a whim

According to the release, on the day of the record Cash 5 contest, Coleman said he made his usual stop at Sheetz. He purchased items inside the store that left him with $1 and change.

Even though he had previously bought some tickets for the Cash 5 drawing that night, he decided to use that remaining dollar to buy another one at a machine outside the store.

Some players encountered problems with lottery machines on the day of the Cash 5 contest, but Coleman had no such trouble. He bought a $1 Quick Pick ticket that turned into the Cash 5 jackpot winner.

“When someone hears a story that I went out and bought the ticket with a $1 Quick Pick, you have to say that it can happen,” Coleman said. “My joke was that I was hoping to get my retirement package out of the machine. Lo and behold, it happened.”

Cash 5 adds to impressive total for Sheetz

The Cash 5 win was also a highlight for Sheetz, which earns a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

“This is one of the largest tickets ever sold from a Sheetz store location and continues a streak of good luck for our customers, who won over $124 million in lottery cash prizes in 2018,” said Sheetz AVP of Brand Strategies Ryan Sheetz.

Sheetz has 274 locations across Pennsylvania, each of which offers customers lottery-based terminal games and a number of instant lottery options as well.

Philly’s million-dollar Powerball ticket

Another big lottery win arrived near Philadelphia, at the ShopRite in Roxborough.

The ticket correctly matched all five white balls drawn in the March 16 contest (30-34-39-53-67). However, the ticket missed the red Powerball 11. That was still good enough to net $1 million less applicable withholding.

The winner, who is still unknown, will have one year from the drawing date to claim the prize. Lottery players are reminded to check every ticket, every time.

One easy way to chek your draw games tickets is to down the PA online lottery mobile app. One of its many features is a ticket scanner.

Jackpot wins provide bright spot for PA Lottery

The trio of jackpots provides some positive public relations for a PA Lottery system facing a great deal of pressure.

The state lottery, which funnels all of its proceeds to programs that support the state’s older residents, is navigating a new ruling by the US Justice Department. Said ruling redefines the scope of the federal Wire Act. That ruling has raised concerns about the lottery’s interstate backup system in Georgia.

The lottery’s revenue projections were also a point of contention at a recent meeting for the state’s Senate Appropriations Committee. Some members of the committee worried the lottery’s expectations were overly optimistic, which could create budget shortfalls in the future.

Those issues will certainly be addressed at a later date. For now, the lottery – and its players – can soak up the sunshine provided by these big wins.

Record Cash 5 Jackpot Marred By PA Lottery’s Tech Woes

The $2.4 million Cash 5 jackpot wasn’t entirely good news for the PA Lottery, which had to deal with both machine and app outages on drawing day.

The largest jackpot in Cash 5 history has a winner. Though that did not happen without a bit of controversy.

Leading up to the Pennsylvania Lottery drawing for a record-breaking $2,488,733 prize, many state residents experienced difficulty in obtaining tickets for the drawing last Friday.

Some even took to Twitter to air their complaints. In response to these individual messages, the PA Lottery tweeted:

PA Lottery problems ahead of drawing

As KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh reported, many Pennsylvanians could not purchase tickets for much of the day last Friday.

Jeffrey Johnson, a spokesman for the PA Lottery, told the station an outage occurred due to connectivity issues with Verizon cellular service at several terminals around the state.

In addition to lottery terminals being down, there were also outages on the PA Lottery online app. The ticket checker feature was out of service for a similar period of time.

According to KDKA-TV, the Department of Revenue became aware of the outages around 8 a.m. By 3 p.m., Johnson said, the issues were resolved.

One ticket hits Cash 5 jackpot

The PA Lottery announced Monday that more than 156,300 Cash 5 tickets won prizes from Friday’s drawing. None bigger, though, than one sold in Columbia County.

The more-than $2.4 million jackpot, the largest in the 27-year history of Cash 5, had accrued since Feb. 22. The winner bought the ticket from the convenience store Sheetz in Berwick. The store receives a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

The winning numbers are:

5-6-10-12-15

“We’re thrilled that the largest jackpot in Cash 5 history created a big winner,” Drew Svitko, executive director of the PA Lottery, said in a statement. “Friday’s historic drawing also produced more than 156,000 other Cash 5 winners all across Pennsylvania.”

There was only a single winning ticket, so the lucky player gets the entirety of the jackpot.

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$150K Powerball also awarded

The day after the winning Cash 5 ticket hit, one Powerball ticket in Delaware County matched four of the five white balls drawn and the red Powerball to win $150,000.

Without the $1 Power Play option, per the PA Lottery, the prize would have been a mere $50,000.

The vendor of the winning ticket, Dutton Mill Beverage in Aston, earned a $500 bonus.

Powerball jackpot gets bigger and bigger

Meanwhile, the Powerball jackpot continues to build. The aforementioned PA Lottery player nabbed a nice prize, but no one matched every ball to take the estimated $414 million jackpot.

The estimated annuity value for Wednesday’s drawing stands at $448 million. Winners can also opt for the lump sum of $271.7 million cash. The prize is the 17th-largest lottery jackpot ever.

One Cash 5 Player Could Take Home $2.4 Million Friday

The Friday, March 8 Cash 5 drawing will feature a record-setting $2.4 million prize for some lucky Pennsylvania Lottery players.

The largest Cash 5 prize in Pennsylvania history is up for grabs.

The Pennsylvania Lottery announced that a $2.4 million jackpot is ready to be claimed following Friday’s drawing. That total sets the record for the game’s largest top prize in its 27-year history.

It also bests the previous record set just one day prior. On Thursday, the Cash 5 jackpot hit $2 million. PA Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko observed that it tied a three-way jackpot of $2 million for biggest ever.

“It’s been more than two years since the Cash 5 jackpot has approached this level,” he noted. The previous jackpot hit on Jan. 17 of 2017.

“It’s very exciting that the Cash 5 jackpot has set a new all-time record,” Svitko said in a statement about tonight’s draw. “Regardless of the jackpot size, we always remind players to please play responsibly.”

Biggest Cash 5 prize yet

The top prize for Cash 5, PA Lottery’s longest-running jackpot game, has grown since it was last awarded Feb. 22, a $500,000 purse won in Beaver County.

The base jackpot for the nightly draw game is $125,000. It reset on Feb. 23 and has been growing ever since.

It is not the only swelling payday for PA Lottery players. Powerball is getting pretty large as well. The Saturday drawing is expected to have a jackpot of $414 million.

How to check your Cash 5 tickets

Every night at 6:59 p.m. ET, there is a Cash 5 drawing. You can watch the drawing live on the PA Lottery website. If you miss the drawing, you can also check numbers on the PA Lottery mobile app.

The app can also scan your Cash 5 tickets in order to check if any are winners.

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How to play Cash 5

Players looking to play Cash 5 pay $1 and select five numbers between 1 and 43. Using a Cash 5 payslip, customers can select their own numbers. Or they can opt for computer-selected quick picks.

In order to claim the jackpot, all five numbers must match the drawing. Players, though, can also win prizes for matching anywhere between two and four numbers.

Customers can purchase up to seven draws (one week) in advance. The PA Lottery said the chances of winning the jackpot are 1 in 962,598. The odds of claiming any prize stand at about 1 in 10.5.

History of Cash 5 draw game

Cash 5 is one of a number of statewide draw games the PA Lottery offers. It is also the longest-running game in this group. The game launched in 1992 and was originally a weekly draw game. It expanded to nightly drawings in 1998.

PA Lottery Fighting Multiple Battles To Protect Revenue

Facing pressure from both the Department of Justice and illegal skill games, the PA Lottery is growing concerned about its revenue.

The Pennsylvania Lottery can consider 2018 a success. However, the first few months of 2019 have already presented a number of obstacles.

According to an article on PennLive, state lottery officials said profits for 2018 were up about $50 million over the previous year. They were also ahead of projections for the early portion of this year.

But a ruling last month by the US Department of Justice, some budgetary concerns from the state’s senate, and some competition from rapidly spreading dubiously legal games of skill have stalled all that momentum. They’ve also raised concerns about the lottery’s long-term health.

New ruling leads the list of concerns

Last month, the US Department of Justice issued an opinion that extended the federal Wire Act to apply to any form of gambling that crosses state lines. This includes online gambling and online lottery, not just sports betting which had been the previous stance.

“It represents a huge threat to the lottery industry as well as the Pennsylvania Lottery as well as the gaming industry,” Drew Svitko, executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery, told PennLive.

If that decision stands, it could force the Pennsylvania Lottery to move its backup data center in Georgia. The data center would then move in-state. This process would carry an exorbitant cost.

In response, both Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (the top lottery lobbying group) have authored letters challenging the new position of the Department of Justice and asking for further clarification.

Senate Appropriation Committee has lotto questions

At a meeting last week of the PA Senate Appropriations Committee, Republican senators raised concerns about the state lottery’s revenue projections, according to PennLive.

Senators worried that the lottery revenue projections were overly optimistic. The fear is revenue and could fall short by $50 million or more. That kind of deficit creates a huge budgetary problem. After all, the state lottery funds a wide variety of entitlement services and financial support for seniors.

“If you qualify, you get them,” Senate Appropriations Committee member Pat Browne told PennLive. “If we don’t have the money (to pay for them), the exposure is huge.”

Growth in games of skill also a concern

The Pennsylvania Lottery launched online games in May 2018 and has nearly tripled its game offerings in the ensuing months. The online lottery games have fared well, but the monitor-based games such as keno and Xpress Sports, which launched last year, haven’t been quite as successful. According to PennLive, those games produced just $9 million for the lottery fund in the first six months of the fiscal year.

Svitko blames the spread of illegal games of skill for some of the lottery’s struggles. Games of skill typically return greater revenues for their owners than the commission the lottery pays. This makes them popular options for some retailers.

The fact that the state police considers the games illegal hasn’t seemed to slow the spread of them either.

“We still feel that the (skill) machines are illegal,” Major Scott Miller, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Enforcement, told PennLive.

Svitko told PennLive that almost 18 percent of lottery retailers have at least one skill game machine. A year ago, it was half that. But in the absence of a higher court decision that will eliminate the games of skill as a competitor, the state lottery is left to take up the challenge on its own.

The growing senior population needs the PA Lottery

The state lottery already has a number of hurdles in its path. Yet another one will appear in the near future. Last week’s PennLive article cited statistics from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office highlighting the growth projections for Pennsylvania’s senior population. The number of senior citizens in the Keystone State is expected to grow 23 percent by 2025. That increases the total number of seniors to nearly 2.8 million people.

And thus, the PA Lottery, which already funds essential services for existing seniors, will have to do even more to keep pace in the years ahead.

“The expectations are really high,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell told PennLive. “We have to be concerned about where things are going.”

Questions About Adelson’s Involvement In New DOJ Opinion Keep Surfacing

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has joined New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal in telling the US Department of Justice exactly what it can do with its latest opinion on the Wire Act.

In a letter dated Feb. 5, Shapiro and Grewal ask Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to withdraw the opinion completely. Or at the very least, tell DOJ prosecutors to refrain from bringing any action against the online gaming industry or players in either state based on it.

Is online gambling now a federal crime?

The DOJ’s latest interpretation appears to reverse its 2011 opinion the decades-old Wire Act only applied to sports betting. The 2011 opinion is what led several states to believe they could legalize online gambling.

Shapiro and Grewal’s letter expresses the pair’s “strong objections” to the DOJ’s reversal of that opinion. In particular, because it may make online gambling a federal crime, even in states where it is now legal.

The letter states:

“This about-face is wrong and raises significant concerns in our states. We ask that DOJ withdraw its opinion altogether or assure us that DOJ will not bring any enforcement actions against companies and individuals engaged in online gaming in our states — where it is appropriate under state law.”

It goes on to claim this DOJ opinion appears to run contrary to previous policies:

“We can see no good reason for DOJ’s sudden reversal. First, it runs contrary to plain language of the Wire Act. Second, DOJ has recognized that it should ’employ considerable caution in departing from … prior opinions,’ in light of the ‘strong interests in efficiency, institutional credibility, and the reasonable expectations of those who have relied on our prior advice.'”

Is it Adelson’s opinion or the DOJ’s?

Additionally, the pair has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request looking to find out exactly where the new opinion comes from. The FOIA request is specifically seeking information related to outside groups’ lobbying efforts urging the DOJ to reconsider.

Anti-online gambling zealot Sheldon Adelson is CEO and founder Las Vegas Sands Corporation. He has been asking the DOJ to reverse its Wire Act opinion since it was released in 2011.

A January Wall Street Journal report indicates the new opinion comes directly from a lobbying group memo. The lobbying group is funded by Adelson. The Washington Post also published a similar article Feb.7. It outlines how the opinion appears to have been influenced by Adelson and the group.

Although, the DOJ claims any accusation that the opinion was shaped by any outside interest is baseless and offensive.

Shapiro and Grewal’s letter states:

“Press reports … indicate that this new advice followed substantial lobbying by outside groups that have long been unhappy with the 2011 opinion — but who were unable to convince Congress of the merits of their view. That is not a good enough reason to trample over the law and states’ rights, and to upend the settled expectations on which we have been relying for nearly a decade.”

Hundreds of millions at stake

Shapiro and Grewal’s letter also indicates the new opinion threatens the online gambling industry in PA and NJ, and all it has created so far, including:

  • $350 million in annual revenue and $60 million in gaming taxes in NJ
  • $23.8 million in online lottery revenue in PA
  • Jobs, economic health, and state funds for the public good in both states

The letter states:

“The opinion casts doubt not only on traditional online gaming, but also multi-state lottery drawings (such as Power Ball and Mega Millions) and online sales of in-state lottery tickets. While regulators and the industry are reviewing the full range of impacts this opinion may have, each potential implication is of concern.”

Shapiro and Grewal’s letter appears to be only a part of growing opposition to the DOJ opinion.

The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries also sent a letter to the DOJ urging it to reconsider.

It states:

“The recent United States Department of Justice, reinterpretation of the Wire Act of 1961 creates a substantially detrimental impact on the lottery industry, including traditional retail-based draw and instant lottery games, as well as traditional lottery games offered over the Internet, and the billions of dollars for good causes lotteries provide.”

PA Lottery Has Already Made Six New Millionaires In 2019

Pennsylvania Lottery’s New Year’s Millionaire Raffle made four lucky Pennsylvanian’s millionaires. In fact, the Lottery made six millionaires in January.

Pennsylvania Lottery’s New Year’s Millionaire Raffle made four (4!) lucky Pennsylvanians millionaires.

Lottery players should check their numbers if they purchased tickets at one of the following locations:

  • Country Fair, 18163 Conneaut Lake Road, Meadville, Crawford County
  • Smokin Joe’s, 28044 Route 267, Friendsville, Susquehanna County
  • Fast Fill, 24 Blakeslee Blvd., Lehighton, Carbon County
  • Wegmans, 201 Williams St., Williamsport, Lycoming County

The lucky ticket numbers are:

  • 00120648
  • 00140917
  • 00275426
  • 00359528

How to play Millionaire Raffle

Millionaire Raffle is simple to play. Lottery players purchase a raffle ticket for $20 from a PA lottery retailer. The PA Lottery randomly selects numbers from all the raffle tickets sold.

The PA Lottery limits sales to only 500,000 raffle tickets per drawing. The drawing happens when the last ticket sells, or after the sales deadline.

Overall, the raffle awards $5,089,200 to 6,000 raffle ticket holders. The overall chance of winning a prize are 1 in 83.33.

Here is the prize break down and the chances of winning:

PrizeNumber AwardedChances of Winning
$1,000,000 41 in 125,000
$100,00041 in 125,000
$1,000 1001 in 5,000
1005,8921 in 84.86

Additionally, leading up to the main drawing, the raffle drew eight weekly prizes of $100,000. A weekly winner was still eligible to win the $1,000,000 grand prize.

The most recent drawing was the 28th installment of the Millionaire Raffle. The Pennsylvania Lottery first debuted the Millionaire Raffle in 2005. Since then, the raffle has created more than 100 new Pennsylvania millionaires.

PA Lottery is busy making millionaires

Speaking of millionaires, Millionaire Raffle isn’t the only lottery game in town making Pennsylvanians richer.

Just after the New Year, Weis Markets in Duryea sold a Match 6 ticket worth $1.95 million. The winning lottery ticket holder has not come forward and like all lottery winners, has one year to do so.

A few days prior, during the New Year’s Day Mega Millions drawing, a Pennsylvania Lottery player soon realized they were holding a winning ticket worth $4 million.

The winning ticket included the $1 Megaplier and the drawing revealed the multiplier of four. That combination turned a $1 million ticket into $4 million — not a bad way to start the year.

That makes six brand new Pennsylvania millionaires in the first few weeks of January and nine since December. It’s no surprise lottery fever shows no signs of letting up, especially with bigger Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots making the news.

In fact, during the 2017-18 fiscal year, the Lottery sold more than $4.2 billion worth of lottery products and paid out a record $2.7 billion in prizes. No doubt, the expansion of online lottery offerings helped generate those massive numbers.

Want to try your luck at winning? You know what they say, “You can’t win if you don’t play.

Without Launching Much Of Anything, PA Brought In $385M From Gambling Expansion

Pennsylvania brought in around $1 million a day from gambling expansion in the law’s first year of existence even though most verticals haven’t launched.

The pending launch of online sports betting and online casino games is generating attention in Pennsylvania. The exact date falls under the “coming soon to a casino near you” category.

The upfront licensing fees associated with Pennsylvania gambling expansion have injected more than $385 million into Pennsylvania coffers so far. The law went into effect in November of last year.

That figure exceeded state budget estimates, according to a press release from PlayPennsylvania.com. The figure is a combination of:

  • Upfront licensing fees for online casinos, sportsbooks and brick-and-mortar casinos
  • Mini-casino auction profits
  • Tax revenue from lottery expansion and daily fantasy sports 

Breaking down the combined numbers, Pennsylvania has netted more than $1 million a day since late 2017, according to analysis provided by PlayPennsylvania.com.

“The most notable aspect of the significant revenue that has been generated is that this is almost completely from fees, rather than tax revenue from gamblers,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “Clearly, there is enough interest in Pennsylvania’s enormous market so far to generate fees.”

The equation does not include revenue from online sports betting, slots and table games, which are expected to start launching during the first quarter of 2019.

Breaking down the gambling numbers

The revenue estimates tabulated by PlayPennsylvania.com consists of a combination of official statistics and estimates based on iLottery, Keno and virtual sports sales numbers

Using return-to-player rates of the lottery games, PlayPennsylvania estimates that through October, the state has generated more than $23 million in revenue and includes:

  • Online lotto games:, $19.6 million
  • Keno: $3.6 million
  • Virtual sports: $87,000

Here is a breakdown of other sources of revenue:

  • Mini-casino auction profits:, $128 million
  • Interactive gaming petitions:, $94 million
  • Casino licensing:, $78 million
  • Sports betting petitions:, $60 million
  • Fantasy sports tax revenue: $1.4 million 

For comparison purposes, Pennsylvania collected $799.8 million in statewide slot revenues during the fiscal year 2017-18. Pennsylvania estimated in February that it will generate more than $34 billion in general fund revenues for its 2018-19 fiscal year.

Online sports betting factor

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has approved sports betting licenses for:

All of the properties plan on offering online and retail sports betting. With the opening of Rivers and SugarHouse on Thursday, there are now three retail sportsbooks in the state. Revenue from November and Hollywood Casino should come out in the next few days.

“The addition of sports betting should help buoy a slowing Pennsylvania casino industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayPennsylvania.com. “If New Jersey is any indication, though, the more significant revenue generator will be online sports betting. A successful rollout there should generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.”

PA Lottery’s Millionaire Raffle Back In Time For The Holiday Season

The popular PA Lottery game that gives you your best statistical shot at $1 million is back. Millionaire Raffle begins its eight-week run on Monday, Nov. 19.

The midterm elections came and went in a wild rush, but, if you can believe it, the long-term future of our country may not have even been the biggest news of the week in Pennsylvania.

And no, we’re not talking about the Mega Millions jackpot either.

No, a Pennsylvania favorite is coming back just in time for the holidays.

Meet Millionaire Raffle.

Millionaire Raffle is an eight-week long draw game. In addition to the seven-figure payday, the game also awards two $50,000 each week.

The seasonal game is not complicated. The PA Lottery likes to keep their games as straightforward as possible.

The rules behind Millionaire Raffle really boil down to one thing—matching ticket numbers to the numbers drawn.

Simple enough, right?

Tickets for Millionaire Raffle will run you $20.

Each ticket contains a “unique, eight-digit raffle number issued sequentially across Pennsylvania from the PA Lottery’s central computer.”

The PA Lottery will cap every drawing at 500,000 Millionaire Raffle tickets sold. There will be weekly drawings every Monday, starting on Nov. 19. Each drawing will have two $50,000 winners.

Winning numbers are drawn from the number combinations sold.

But don’t count your raffle winnings just yet—there’s plenty more to find out about the finer points of Millionaire Raffle.

Winning big’s never been so easy.

Millionaire Raffle players have a chance to win at four different prize levels.

Once an Automated Drawing Machine (ADM) randomly selects all 6,000 winning number combinations, they’re then verified by an on-site certified public accountant and made available on palottery.com.

And fortunately for players, all Millionaire Raffle prizes are paid out in cash.

That includes the $1 million jackpot.

Winning tickets at the $1,000 and $100 level can be paid at any Pennsylvania lottery retailer.

Players with winning tickets north of $99,999 must file a PA lottery claim form.

Don’t delay if you’ve got a winner (not that you ever would)—you’ve got up to a year from the drawing date to claim your prize.

The rest of the prize levels, payouts and percentage chance of winning are as follows:

PRIZE LEVELS# OF PRIZESPRIZECHANCES OF WINNING
TOP4$1,000,0001 in 125,000
SECOND4$100,0001 in 125,000
THIRD100$1,0001 in 5,000
FOURTH5,892$1001 in 84.86
TOTAL6,000$5,089,2001 in 83.33

PA lottery pickem’

If it feels like the PA lottery is hogging the headlines of late, it’s not just your imagination.

Following the record-breaking Mega Millions win, PA players have been raking in the dough on Powerball.

And while we’re unlikely to see anyone walk away with $1.6 billion again anytime soon, the addition of a game like Millionaire Raffle to the PA lottery’s already near-to-overflowing cache of games means PA players will have plenty of chances to win big, again and again.