The Pennsylvania Lottery has reportedly acquiesced to a call from the eastern state’s casino operators by agreeing to cease marketing its new range of iLottery games using language such as ‘casino-style’ and ‘slot-style.’
According to a Monday report from The Patriot-News newspaper, late-October saw Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, sign off on legislation that legalized online gambling in ‘The Keystone State’ while the Pennsylvania Lottery soon took advantage by premiering a collection of interactive titles a little over seven months later. To protect the land-based industry, the new legislation’s language explicitly forbids the state-run operator, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, from offering ‘interactive lottery games which simulate casino-style games.’
However, June 27 reportedly saw a lawyer working on behalf of the eastern state’s 13 casinos, Mark Stewart, write a letter to Daniel Hassell, Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, in which he alleged that the Pennsylvania Lottery’s new online games were a direct and illegal intrusion to the iGaming titles his clients were planning to offer. He called upon the operator, which was established in 1971 in order to fund programs for senior citizens, to cease offering these games and ‘work collaboratively with the gaming industry to develop a lawful iLottery program.’
The Patriot-News reported that Stewart’s letter had also claimed that the Pennsylvania Lottery’s new iLottery games were mimicking casino-style games ‘in virtually every way imaginable’ including even borrowing the themes and names of popular video slot titles.
Stewart additionally wrote that Pennsylvanian casinos are not happy with the fact that 18-year-olds can enjoy the Pennsylvania Lottery’s new collection of iLottery games while aficionados will be required to be 21 in order to enjoy their titles.
“If these same individuals tried to play the same games at our casinos, the players would be prosecuted and placed on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s exclusion list while we would face tens of thousands of dollars in Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board-imposed fines,” reportedly read Stewart’s letter.
The Patriot-News reported that Stewart had concluded his correspondence by calling on Hassell to ‘immediately’ cease the Pennsylvania Lottery’s ‘current unlawful iLottery program’ before declaring that Pennsylvania’s land-based casino industry would ‘be forced to consider all actions available’ in order to ‘preserve our rights’ and correct ‘the harm being caused to those rights and the billions of dollars we have collectively invested in an generated for the commonwealth.’
In his response two days later, Hassell admitted that the way the new online games were being marketed by the Pennsylvania Lottery’s was wrong before detailing that the offending advertisements had been created by affiliates of the operator’s vendor, Scientific Games Corporation, utilizing their own language and graphics. He furthermore purportedly asserted that his office had ‘addressed this inaccuracy in the affiliates’ graphic and language immediately.’