Several casinos in the state of Pennsylvania have come together to ask the courts to stop the lottery from offering their online games as the online gambling industry prepares to launch. Next month, the commercial casinos in the state will begin offering services and the games offered by the lottery are too similar to what they will be providing.
The casinos have filed an injunction that will require the lottery to stop providing the games that are similar to slots, poker and other casino style games. In 2017, the gambling expansion law passed in the state gave the commercial casinos exclusive rights to such games.
The injunction was filed in the hopes of accelerating a lawsuit filed in 2018 regarding the games. The Lottery was given the option to offer online games in order to stay competitive as gaming continued to expand in the state. But the casinos were unhappy as the Lottery launched games that were too similar to what they would be providing.
The commercial operators also had to pay millions of dollars for licensing while the lottery is offering similar style games without the added cost. The casinos are alleging that a minimum of nine lottery games that are offered online have the same titles or similar themes to slot machines that are available in land-based casinos of Pennsylvania or are found online in other states.
The casinos have stated they are not against the online lottery, but they are against simulated, casino-style games. Casinos have continued to support the mission of the lottery and offer a space for vending machines for lottery tickets on their gaming floors.
Because of the similarities in the games offered by the online lottery, the casinos have taken action for change within the courts. The lawsuit filed by the group has yet to move forward and the injunction filed this week could get the ball rolling.
Along with the game type and theme argument, the casinos have stated that the payout for the online lottery games average around 85% which is the minimum payout for slot machines in the state. Traditional lottery products have a 40% payout. Some games can also be played in nickel and dime denominations. This is not common for lottery products but it is for casino games.
How this will play out is anyone’s guess. The lottery wants to provide online games and they apparently do not think what they are offering is a problem. The casinos seem to be onboard with online lottery games, but do not want the lottery offering casino style games.
Hopefully, some sort of agreement can be reached or the courts can come up with a solution that will work well for both parties involved. Only time will tell if the Lottery will be able to continue to offer the same games and casinos will have to be accepting or if changes will be required as to what the Lottery can offer online.