Spring Launch Possible for Online Lottery in Pennsylvania

by Kyle Miller

PennsylvaniaPennsylvania is set to move forward with gaming expansion plans, reportedly launching an online lottery this spring.

In October of 2017, the state of Pennsylvania passed a gaming package into law. Within this gaming package, several areas of the state’s gambling industry were to be expanded upon. Included in the mix was the authorization of the online lottery. For months now, all talk has been focused around satellite casinos and online casino and poker games. However, now it seems that pulling into the forefront of what will be provided first will be the online lottery.

Ready this Spring

Reportedly, the state lottery expects online lottery sales to begin by the spring. The quick launch is welcome news to the lottery as the state has seen a decline in ticket sales. Over the years, the lottery was able to sustain growth, but last year, the revenues of the lottery dropped by 3%.

Lottery gaming is actually dropping across the United States as customers are aging and the younger demographic are not interested in the games on offer. Lotteries across the nation are looking to modernize their lottery offerings so that they will appeal to a wider audience. In Pennsylvania, the goal is to go online to appeal to smartphone users. Consumers are constantly on their smartphones and having the ability to log online for lottery tickets should be appealing and help with overall sales.

What to Expect

Residents of the state are wondering what to expect with online lottery sales. It is unclear as to what the industry will provide, but it has been reported that draw games, keno, instant win games and virtual sports will be included. The lottery will be available on mobile devices plus video monitors that will be installed inside lottery retailers. This will provide sales in brick and mortar locations online as well as by consumers as they are on the go.

There are online lottery gaming options available in other states, including Michigan, Illinois and Georgia. In these states, results have been mixed. Take Michigan for example. The state was able to earn $20 million in online lottery ticket sales during the second quarter of 2017. There are around 10 million people living in Michigan.

In Illinois, much less was generated. $6.2 million was taken in during the same time frame with the state having 13 million residents. So, for Pennsylvania, results could go either way. When comparing Michigan and Illinois, the online lottery offerings do have differences that could have contributed to the difference in earnings. Michigan offers more games and provides incentives to open an account online, while Illinois does not.

For Pennsylvania to succeed with their online lottery games, they should take note from Michigan. They will be offering the same type of games, which should help to bring in higher revenue numbers. It would also be beneficial for Pennsylvania to provide incentives for online gamers as well as a nice return to player percentage. By providing more for consumers, players will be more likely to log on and purchase lottery tickets.

If the online lottery is ready by spring, it will mark one of several gaming expansions set for the state this year. The process of creating satellite casinos has already begun with Penn National earning the first license available at auction for $50 million. This a super high price and not expected. The next auction will take place next week. Details of when online gaming will begin in the state have yet to be revealed. It will be interesting to watch as the state gets started in the many areas of expansion for their gaming industry.