The governor of Pennsylvania believes that online lottery sales will help turn around an underperforming product that lost tens of millions of dollars last fiscal year.
The most recent year wasn’t a great one for the PA lottery, which saw revenue decrease more than $75 million in FY 2016-17.
But things are looking up, at least if the planned budget of Gov. Tom Wolf is to be believed. Wolf recently laid out his plan for the 2018-19 fiscal year. His budget referenced the gaming expansion that the state passed in 2017 that opened up online lottery sales.
According to Wolf, he and the state are taking steps to “improve the fiscal condition of the Lottery Fund provide the necessary revenue to re-establish a $75 million reserve fund” starting in 2011-22. A big part of that is the ability to offer online lottery games.
More from Wolf’s budget plan:
Act 42 of 2017 enables the Lottery to launch new product lines, including iLottery games and terminal-based games for virtual sports and keno. Both products are designed to appeal to new and younger players. Implementation of iLottery will allow players to access games through mobile devices. Introducing new Lottery players can also benefit existing Lottery retailers, as demonstrated in other states where iLottery has previously been implemented.
Monitor-based games allow patrons to watch a simulated sports event or a number draw, most often in bars and taverns, again introducing Lottery games to a new group of players. When both products are fully implemented, they are expected to generate as much as $150 million annually to fund programs for older Pennsylvanians.
The lottery is also excited about the prospects of online games. More here from Capitolwire (subscription):
“It’s (iGames) the most significant modernization in our more than 45-year history,” said Gary Miller, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Lottery Monday. “We’ve been running on a business model that’s been basically unchanged since 1972. It’s important for the Lottery to remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing business environment because older Pennsylvanians are counting on it.”
Capwire also reported that the state was looking at the Michigan online lottery product as its model.
Wolf also announced last year that the state would offer virtual sports betting via lottery retailers. Those games consist of sporting events that take place only via computer software; users can bet on the outcome of the virtual events.
Meanwhile, the rollout out of online casinos in the state is taking a bit longer than the lottery.
The PA Gaming Control Board has put out some regulations and applications related to the launch. But the state still hasn’t taken licensing fees for the casinos that want to offer iGaming.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania will be the first state where online slots and online lottery — two very similar products — will go head-to-head.