Summary: A group of casinos in Pennsylvania are attacking the online lottery based on the games they offer, but they might be harming themselves in the process.
A battle between a coalition of casinos in Pennsylvania and the state Lottery continues to heat up. The coalition feel that the lottery are infringing on their online gaming rights by offering online lottery games that are very similar to what they will be providing once online casinos are launched in the state. The coalition has used several points in their argument, including the fact that online lottery games are offered to players 18 and up while they will only be able to provide online games to players 21 and up. Now, a recent op-ed might have the casinos in a little hot water as they are using ammunition that actually affects them as well.
Back in July, all 13 casino license holders in Pennsylvania decided to apply their signature to a letter addressed to Revenue Secretary Daniel Hassell. In the letter, the casinos asked the state to remove the instant win games provided by the lottery for online game play that had launched back in May as they claimed the games were too similar to online slot content.
The Lottery did stop advertising such games, no longer calling them, slot-style games, but they continued to offer them to players. This action wasn’t enough so two months later in August, a coalition of seven casinos emerged and filed a lawsuit against the Lottery stating they were breaking the law.
Based on state law, the online lottery gaming options cannot simulate casino-style games. This would include slot machines, roulette, poker and blackjack.
David La Torre Comments
Fast forward to last week and the CEO and President of La Torre Communications, David La Torre, wrote an op-ed at Penn live, coming at the state online Lottery in a completely different way. The communications group is a public affairs firm that is currently representing the coalition.
Mr. La Torre stated in the article that because the PA online lottery is allowing anyone to demo the games if they check a box stating they are 18 years of age or older is making it easy for kids to play the casino style games without any type of proper identification or age verification.
The state is strict about their gambling industry, focusing heavily on underage gambling. The casinos of the state have to pay major fines if a player under the age of 21 is found gambling on the casino floor. according to the underage rule for casinos, Mr. La Torre feels that the public should be concerned that the lottery is not keeping kids from playing the online lottery games.
Now, here’s the problem. If the coalition starts to shine a light on the age issue, then the casinos will be in trouble. Social casino sites currently use the same age verification methods that the online lottery does and they will be using these same sites to market their real money online gambling offerings.
Basically, they will be doing the exact same thing and being hypocritical will get the casinos nowhere. It seems that Mr. La Torre did not think his argument through before writing the op-ed. It will be interesting to see if the Lottery retaliates and how they decide to move forward with the lawsuit they face from the coalition.