The Pennsylvania Lottery decided the best way to celebrate their 46th anniversary was to announce the news we’ve all been waiting for.
Via a press release dated March 14, the state lottery said the iLottery platform included in the state’s 2017 gambling expansion bill will launch this May.
“As we reflect on 46 great years, we’re hard at work to build the Pennsylvania Lottery of the future,” said Drew Svitko, the lottery’s executive director. “In coming months, we’ll launch an iLottery online gaming platform and new types of draw games that will help us to modernize our business and generate new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians.”
Virtual sports will launch in June
The press release noted that online games will be available this May. Meanwhile, virtual sports will appear in June.
The online games will be similar to draw and scratch-off games offered in retail locations, but they will be uniquely catered to online play.
Virtual sports games allow gamblers to bet on the outcome of a fictional sporting event — horse racing, for example.
Odds are handled the same way as a real race, complete with information about each horse. Bets are made, the race kicks off, and winners are paid out according to the finishers.
Interest in this new form of lottery game could be high. That popularity might depend on the outcome of New Jersey’s sports-betting case before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) though.
Should SCOTUS rule in favor of New Jersey, sports betting could, in theory, be legalized in Pennsylvania.
if that happens, then the interest in virtual sports may not be as feverish as it would be if sports betting did not exist in PA. However, the advantage this lottery game holds is that residents can play it at all hours of the day at any point during the year.
So, when professional sports leagues end and there are lulls between the action, gamblers can bet on virtual competitions. However, these competitions will not be available online right away. Instead, they will be on video lottery terminals (VLTs) in bars and taverns.
Announcement came on 46th anniversary of PA lottery
The news about the launch of the iLottery came 46 years after the lottery first launched in the state.
According to the PA lottery press release, they’ve paid out $48 billion in prizes since 1972. The revenue from the lottery has resulted in $28 billion in donations to various state programs focused on senior citizens:
- Property tax rebates
- Rent rebates
- Care services
- Prescription assistance
- Other local services
Svitko said the addition of iLottery games will serve to further the assistance state and local agencies provide to older residents.
“We’re excited to develop new types of games that will bolster support for programs that benefit older Pennsylvanians. We know that future generations of seniors will be counting on us to be there to help.”
The original PA lottery game was a $0.50-per-ticket drawing for $50,000. There were also occasional $1 million drawings. The state’s first scratch-off game appeared in 1975 and the first televised drawing debuted two years later.