PA Gaming Review: Tracks Losing by a Nose, Online Lottery Success, New Casino App

Written By Kevin Shelly on August 13, 2020 - Last Updated on August 20, 2020
PA horse tracks deal with unruly patrons, PA lottery has a good year

The Pennsylvania Lottery has done well despite shutdowns at retailers, thanks to online sales.

There’s a new online casino app this week from Live!, with an online sportsbook yet to come. Another PA sports betting app carrying the Barstool Sports brand is delayed, but also is on the way.

And finally, no state agency is taking ownership of enforcing virus protocols among patrons at PA horse racing tracks. That leaves enforcement to the individual tracks. As a result, compliance varies. Call it losing by a nose.

PA Lottery revenue tops $1 billion

Even with retail outlets limited due to virus restrictions, the PA Lottery announced a ninth consecutive more than billion-dollar revenue year. Make that $1.14 billion, to be exact.

Traditional game sales were down $33.8 million, a 0.75% decline from last year.

But PA online lottery play saved the year with a 92% increase over the year before.

Online lottery sales accounted for $731 million for fiscal year 2019/20.

Live! launches an online casino for PA

PlayLive! Casino is testing during a soft launch of its PA online casino. If fully approved, the Live! casino app will operate 24/7 beginning Friday.

At its debut, there were 98 slot titles, four of them progressive jackpot slots. PlayLive! is up and running long before the completion of its brick-and-mortar counterparts in suburban Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. They are both under construction.

The Live! online casino app is available for Android and desktop at But it is not yet available in the App Store for iOS.

A Live! mobile sportsbook app awaits launch. Meanwhile, Penn National Gaming said it has pushed back its sportsbook launch until sometime in September. The app will be under the Barstool Sports brand name.

PA agencies finger point on enforcing protocols at race tracks

Noncompliant gamblers are causing issues at some of PA’s recently reopened horse tracks.

At Penn National‘s track, an unmasked customer purposefully coughed on an employee when told about the mask requirement, a track representative confirmed.

At the Meadows, on-site pari-mutuel wagering is no longer allowed on Saturday. And neither are spectators. The change was made due to noncompliant patrons.

Meanwhile, the PA Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture are pointing fingers at each other over which agency bears responsibility for health oversight at race tracks.

Visits to three of six PA tracks by a PlayPennsylvania reporter showed varying degrees of mask-wearing and social distancing.

Patrons really could be losing by a nose.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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