Seven Pennsylvania Casinos lose in court against the PA iLottery

Looking for a no deposit bonus code?  Check out the PA lottery.  The first round in the battle between seven Pennsylvania casinos and the Pennsylvania lottery resulted in a win for the state’s new online iLottery.

The casinos, which includes Parx Casino, Hollywood Casino, Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino Harrah’s Philadelphia, Stadium Casino, Meadows Casino Racetrack Hotel and Valley Forge Casino saw the first round go to iLottery when Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer denied their request for an injunction.

iLottery 

In conjunction with the new Pennsylvania law that allows online gaming in the state, the PA Lottery launched their own online gaming app called iLottery.  iLottery offers interactive games that people can play over the Internet via computer, tablet or mobile device 

Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko  described the Lottery’s new offer. “PA iLottery games are a fun, new way to play and win from home or while on the go. iLottery is a big part of our effort to meet our players where they already are while generating new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians.”
 
Online PA iLottery games do not include Fast Play games, Scratch-Offs or draw games that are sold at Pennsylvania Lottery retailers. They do include Robin Hood, Big Money SLINGO, Cash in the Lamp, Crossword Cash, Super Cash Buster, Super Gems, Foxin' Wins, Bigfoot, Cash Buster Towers, Monster Wins, and Volcano Eruption. Play costs start at as little as one cent and prizes that are as much as  $250,000 are waiting to be won. The palottery.com website offers demo versions of the games.

iLottery games can be played for cash prizes. Players sign up for an account and add a payment method such as a linked bank account or a debit card -- credit cards are not accepted. Prizes are  paid directly to the player’s account.
  
Participating players can install the official iLottery app on a mobile or tablet device via the Apple App Store or through the PA Lottery website. Google Play does not offer the PA Lottery Official App.

“By law, PA iLottery players must be physically located in the state of Pennsylvania to play for money and win prizes,” said Svitko. “As with all Lottery games, we urge players to play responsibly and always within their means.” Players must be 18 or older and new account holders are required to submit proof of age and identity.

Sytko was pleased with the new app, “We’re partnering with our more than 9,400 Pennsylvania Lottery retailers to encourage players to sign up for iLottery. Lottery games sold in stores will continue to be the foundation of our business and produce the majority of proceeds to benefit older adults.”
 
Pennsylvania is now the seventh U.S. state that sells lottery games online.

Pennsylvania Casinos

The seven casinos had filed suit in Commonwealth Court, asking for an injunction to stop the PA lottery from “providing illegal, simulated casino-style online games.” In particular, the petition noted that in Pennsylvania, customers under the age of 21 are not allowed to play at an online or a brick-and-mortar casino but the Lottery allows players to participate from age 18 and up.

The petition names Secretary C. Daniel Hassel and his Department of Revenue as defendants. According to coalition spokesman David La Torre“The actions of the Pennsylvania Lottery are illegal. To make matters even worse, the agency is promoting casino-style gambling to teenagers. Pennsylvania casinos must follow very stringent regulations on underage gaming or face millions of dollars in fines. Meanwhile, the Lottery is openly violating the law and marketing these games to anyone as young as 18. Not to mention, any loss in casino revenue will hurt Pennsylvania’s tax collection for property tax relief and local improvement projects funded by gaming tax dollars.”

iLottery was originally launched in May, enraging the Pennsylvania casinos who were forbidden from offering their own online games until July 15th. The coalition complained that the iLottery games “give the illusion that the player can make decisions, but the winners are predetermined.”

Originally, the casinos asked Governor Tom Wolf to shut down iLottery and noted that they were reserving the right to take legal action if Wolf did not shut the iLottery down. Faced with the governor’s refusal to act, the casinos filed their request.

The casinos also noted, in their petition to the court, that they were obligated to pay a $10 million fee (each) to obtain licenses to operate slot machines and must then pay a 54% tax for interactive slots and 15% for table games. Those fees were not being applied to iLottery which, the casinos wrote, “imitate the look, sound, and feel of slot machines.

The coalition is up front about the fact that the basis for its lawsuit is financial. “Any loss in casino revenue will hurt Pennsylvania’s tax collection for property tax relief and local improvement projects,” the release stated. “Pennsylvania casinos have been economic engines for the commonwealth, investing over $5 billion, creating more than 18,000 jobs, and spending $230 million annually for goods and services from local businesses. An unqualified boon for Pennsylvania and taxpayers, slot machines in 2016-17 alone contributed $2.3 billion in slots tax revenue and an additional $132 million in local share funding for host communities.”

Decision

In their petition, the casinos wrote “Any loss in casino revenue will hurt Pennsylvania’s tax collection for property tax relief and local improvement projects funded by gaming tax dollars.”

In her decision, Judge Cohn Jubelirer acknowledged that iLottery appeared to be similar to land-based or online casino games. However, she wrote, this shouldn’t be cause to allow the injunction to proceed. Cohn Jubelirer ruled that the expanded gambling laws in the state are ambiguous. They leave enough leeway to allow the Pennsylvania Lottery to join the space. She also ruled that the casinos have not proven that their revenue would be damaged by the offerings.

Next Step

At this point, the next step for the casinos will be their lawsuit in which they will try to force the issue in court. Both sides must enter further evidence by August 30th.

 

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