Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Internet Helps Put State Lottery on Pace to Set Record

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Internet Helps Put State Lottery on Pace to Set Record

Article excerpt

The Pennsylvania Lottery's use of the internet to expand its sales could be a positive sign for the casinos looking to expand games and revenue through their websites and apps in coming months.

Just as a gambling expansion law approved in October 2017 gave casinos new options to obtain revenue from players, it did the same for the state lottery. In both cases, it opened the door for the start of internet-based gambling, aimed particularly at a younger demographic accustomed to using phones, laptops and similar electronic devices for all types of purposes in life.

In the case of casino gambling, those new digital options could be available to sports bettors within the state in May and slots, poker and table games players in July, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board officials indicated this week.

Pennsylvania Lottery started offering at a selection of video-style games with random chances of winning cash prizes after players deposit funds in accounts. They are different from the traditional lottery games like the Daily Number, Powerball, Mega Millions and Scratch-Off cards, for which players still visit some 9,300 retail vendors.

While those iLottery games are not solely responsible for the increase, the lottery is on pace in the fiscal year ending June 30 to achieve a record $4.495 billion in sales, surpassing last year's $4.2 billion record, said Pennsylvania Lottery spokeswoman Ewa Dworakowski.

After accounting for operational costs and the prizes paid out to players, the 2018-19 fiscal year is expected to have a record $1.175 billion in profits, besting the 2015-16 high of $1.12 billion, Ms. Dworakoswki said. Of this year's profits, about $31 million - or 2.6 percent - is expected from the iLottery, she said.

Lottery profits are used in Pennsylvania to fund a variety of programs serving older adults, including prescription drug subsidies, home care help, rent and property tax rebates and more. A key reason lottery officials sought authorization for the new internet-based games is the aging of the state's population, which increases the number of eligible participants in such programs and boosts costs. …

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