PA online lottery likely to beat online casinos to market

Pennsylvania Takes Another Step Towards Online Lottery Launch

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Online lottery in Pennsylvania is closer to a reality following the release of temporary regulations by the PA Department of Revenue in a (Good) Friday evening news dump.

According to its scope, the temporary regulations cover, “iLottery game rules, iLottery registration and participation requirements, and iLottery self-exclusion requirements.”

The temporary regulations will remain in place for up to two years, and as it works on permanent regulations, the department is will consider all written comments, suggestions and objections regarding the temporary regulations submitted over the next 30 days.

Registration process

By and large, Pennsylvania’s online lottery will follow the online lottery and online gambling models established in other states.

Online lottery players must be 18 years of age and located in the state in order to play.

Registering players will have to submit to age and identity verification and will need to be geolocated within Pennsylvania’s borders when purchasing tickets or playing instant win games.

The information required to establish an iLottery account includes:

  • Name as it appears on a valid government-issued identification or on tax documents.
  • Date of birth.
  • Entire or last four digits of the individual’s Social Security number, or equivalent for a foreign person such as a passport or taxpayer identification number.
  • Home address.
  • Telephone number.
  • E-mail address.

The online lottery website

The regulations require the Lottery website to disclose the following to consumers:

  • The name of the iLottery game.
  • The purchase price of a play for the iLottery game.
  • The chances of winning the iLottery game and the prizes which can be won.
  • iLottery game instructions.
  • The existence of a finalist, grand prize, second chance or other offering, if applicable, and the procedure for the conduct of the same, if applicable.
  • The existence of a bonus game, mini-game or a game within a game, if applicable, and the procedure for conduct of the same, if applicable.
  • Other information necessary for the conduct of the iLottery game.

Responsible gaming policies

Several responsible gaming policies are also baked into the temporary regulations, including self-exclusion and the capability for players to set deposit, wagering and time limits.

The regulations stipulated that self-exclusion requests can be made through the player’s account, with customers choosing to self-exclude able to choose from several self-exclusion periods.

One important note on self-exclusion: Players may not withdraw funds from their account during the period of self-exclusion.

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Other tidbits

Cannibalization solutions

Brick-and-mortar lottery retailers have long been concerned that online lottery will cut into their sales. Even though these fears seem unfounded based on the evidence from Michigan and other online lottery states, the regulations allow the Lottery to address cannibalization should the need arise.

The temporary regulations allow the Lottery to implement retailer incentive programs at the discretion of the revenue department, with the money for the programs coming from the Lottery Fund.

Don’t park your money online

Money in dormant online lottery accounts is forfeit and transferred to the state after three years.

Claiming prizes

Most prizes will be directly credited to the player’s account, but prizes exceeding a certain, yet-to-be-determined amount will need to be claimed in-person, at an authorized lottery claim center.

Casino games are off limits

According to the regulations, the definition of an online lottery game, “does not include games that represent physical, Internet-based or monitor-based interactive lottery games which simulate casino-style lottery games, specifically including poker, roulette, slot machines and blackjack.”

The regulations aren’t entirely clear, but since Pennsylvania will offer online instant win games (which bear a striking resemblance to online slot machines), it appears online lottery games will not use casino themes or simulate the gameplay of casino games.

Per the temporary regulations:

“Internet instant game—A lottery game of chance in which, by the use of a computer, tablet computer or other mobile device, a player purchases a play, with the result of play being a reveal on the device of numbers, letters or symbols indicating whether a lottery prize has been won according to an established methodology as provided by the Lottery.”

- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.
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