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Pennsylvania casinos file suit against state lottery over Internet-based games

Aug 22, 2018, 3:14 pm

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Pennsylvania LotteryPennsylvania Lottery: Pennsylvania casinos file suit against state lottery over Internet-based gamesRating:

Seven commercial casino operators in Pennsylvania have filed suit in Commonwealth Court against the Pennsylvania Lottery over its new breed of "casino-style" online games.

The casino operators are asking the court to stop the Lottery from offering the games, introduced in May, arguing they cut too close to the online games that the casinos say state gambling law reserves exclusively for them.

The suit alleges several of the Lottery's games improperly imitate the look, sound and feel of slot machines by:

  • Appropriating the same titles as some of the more popular slot machines on casino floors.
  • Using spinning wheels, cascading tiles or other result reveals that are common to casino games.
  • Offering games in penny or dime denominations that are typical for casinos but have note been used for any other Lottery products to this point;
  • Requiring a player to set bets, a term that the suit notes traditional Lottery products do not use.
  • Offering marketing tools — free play offers and a patron loyalty program — that are key elements of casino marketing.

All violate provisions in both the state's Lottery and gambling laws that bar the state from selling any... "simulated casino-style lottery game, including video poker, video roulette, slot machines or video blackjack."

The suit also complains that, because it can sell tickets to 18-year-olds, the Lottery is obliterating longstanding state law that prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from being on a gaming floor.

The end result, the suit alleges, is "a direct incursion by the state into the exclusive market of the licensed gaming petitioners."

Lottery officials declined comment on the suit Wednesday afternoon, noting they had not yet had a chance to review it.

But spokesman Gary Miller defended the iLottery games generally, noting that they are simply part of the ongoing effort "to continue delivering to our customers games that they want and where they want while generating the additional funds to stabilize the Lottery Fund and provide vital services to older Pennsylvanians."

The lawsuit comes as most of Pennsylvania's casinos are preparing to launch their own online gambling platforms later this year — at a license enhancement cost of $10 million apiece.

The casinos' games, however, may not launch until early next year, according to the suit.

Both "iLottery" and the commercial online gambling were authorized in a massive gambling expansion bill agreed to by state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf last year as part of a deal to close the 2017-18 state budget.

The state pushed for the iLottery games in part to help the state-run games — which just posted a record sales year in 2017-18 — stay on a level competitive playing field with commercial casinos in a world where literally every electronic device will be a betting position.

The suit follows an earlier appeal by the casinos to the Wolf Administration's Department of Revenue, which oversees the Pennsylvania Lottery, to work collaboratively with them to develop "a lawful iLottery program."

At that point, the Lottery did change some marketing for its new online games, but no substantial changes were made to the games themselves.

Six of Pennsylvania's 13 commercial casino licensees are not parties to the new suit. Several of those firms are — including Bethlehem Sands and Presque Isle — are currently transitioning between owners.

PennLive's attempts to reach some of the other companies that are not joined in the suit, including Philadelphia's SugarHouse and Pittsburgh's Rivers casinos, were not immediately successful.

Penn Live

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19 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by Stack47.
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Avatar
Chasing $ Millions.
White Shores- California
United States
Member #136471
December 12, 2012
6622 Posts
Offline

These casino operators in Pennsylvania are attempting to be Hans Brinker. Good luck guys.

 * Voice of Reason *   

* The Truth Hurts *

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

    music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
    USN United States Navy
    Fresno, California
    United States
    Member #157849
    August 2, 2014
    3959 Posts
    Offline

    These casino operators in Pennsylvania are attempting to be Hans Brinker. Good luck guys.

    noise-gate,  Who is Hans Brinker?

    Argue

     "We are all in this together!" 

      Avatar
      Chasing $ Millions.
      White Shores- California
      United States
      Member #136471
      December 12, 2012
      6622 Posts
      Offline

      noise-gate,  Who is Hans Brinker?

      Argue

      Fairy take character, who lived in Holland. He heard water leaking from a dike* dam. Decided that to " save the village" he would stick his finger in the hole to prevent the flooding. These operators are attempting to stick their finger in the online hole, to prevent the online games from " flooding the market"..Big Smile

       * Voice of Reason *   

      * The Truth Hurts *

      People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

        music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
        USN United States Navy
        Fresno, California
        United States
        Member #157849
        August 2, 2014
        3959 Posts
        Offline

        Fairy take character, who lived in Holland. He heard water leaking from a dike* dam. Decided that to " save the village" he would stick his finger in the hole to prevent the flooding. These operators are attempting to stick their finger in the online hole, to prevent the online games from " flooding the market"..Big Smile

        Thank You noise-gate. I did google it and it agrees with you. 

         I am content with MM & PB. 

        Lurking

         "We are all in this together!" 

          Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
          100
          Zeta Reticuli Star System
          United States
          Member #30469
          January 17, 2006
          11561 Posts
          Offline

          Greed. The house always wants it all.....in this case both 'houses', the casinos and the lottery.

          Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

          Lep

          There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

            TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
            Brooklyn, NY
            United States
            Member #169716
            October 29, 2015
            1524 Posts
            Offline

            Greed. The house always wants it all.....in this case both 'houses', the casinos and the lottery.

            And, that is because the house always wins!

            The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

            “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

            Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

              TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
              A long and winding road
              United States
              Member #17083
              June 10, 2005
              6569 Posts
              Offline

              Casinos paid in an outrageous fee to be licensed and to operate. 

              Yet here comes the state lottery who mimics slots and slide scale wagering ...feigning it needs to see if it's true. Bit nieve don't ya think? 

              The lottery profits do not go to the community unlike the provisions of casinos that certain profits go to school funds/housing funds. 

              The lottery profits are constantly being shuffled to fix the state budget. ..

              I think these casinos have a case.  At least they are held to transparency...

              Count your smiles.

                Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                100
                Zeta Reticuli Star System
                United States
                Member #30469
                January 17, 2006
                11561 Posts
                Offline

                TheGameGrl,

                Casinos are private enterprises, lotteries are run by states or multi-states. 

                When the laws changed and river boat casinos came into being they were charging admission for people to get on the boats. The admissions varied, some were $2-$5, $5 - $15 on weekends. What is more ridiculous than having to pay an admission to go to a casino to gamble?

                But that helped to recover some of the fees you talked about. 

                Then there were cases where the state got $2 per admission, the town the boat was located in got $2, and then the county said "Hey what about us?"

                I'm not sure about any casino money going to housings funds, never heard of that. 

                Most casinos regardless of location are owned by Nevada or Atlantic City corporations. As legalized gambling spread one reporter said to picture the parent casino as an octopus and the rest of its casinos as tentacles that are money tubes sending it all to the parent company. 

                If the casinos and the horsetracks and the lotteries all got together they'd really have something.

                Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

                Lep

                There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                  TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                  A long and winding road
                  United States
                  Member #17083
                  June 10, 2005
                  6569 Posts
                  Offline

                  Coin toss, this is pennsylvanIa. Not Nevada or any other state that is being challenged. when pa passed the law to allow casinos it was very clear how they were to operate  . Yet the pa lottery can side step all that? There in lays the challenge.

                  Count your smiles.

                    Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                    100
                    Zeta Reticuli Star System
                    United States
                    Member #30469
                    January 17, 2006
                    11561 Posts
                    Offline

                    Coin toss, this is pennsylvanIa. Not Nevada or any other state that is being challenged. when pa passed the law to allow casinos it was very clear how they were to operate  . Yet the pa lottery can side step all that? There in lays the challenge.

                    TheGameGrl,

                    Who owns the casinos? If they're tribal that's one thing, if not, are they owned by Harrah's, etc....

                    Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

                    Lep

                    There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                      TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                      A long and winding road
                      United States
                      Member #17083
                      June 10, 2005
                      6569 Posts
                      Offline

                      TheGameGrl,

                      Who owns the casinos? If they're tribal that's one thing, if not, are they owned by Harrah's, etc....

                      Doesn't matter if the owners or corps are based in another state. They are licensed in Pennsylvania and required to abide by the by laws set forth in gaming in Pennsylvania.  I believe a search via Google can give the list of corps that have stakes in propertis here. 

                      The issue is that the lottery is pushing this new online slot  gambling and trying to say....but it's not! If you wish ...take a gander at the ilottery website.

                      Count your smiles.

                        Avatar
                        New York, NY
                        United States
                        Member #140628
                        March 23, 2013
                        11153 Posts
                        Offline

                        This is just more of the same. When is it enough? Hey Coin Toss, remember when the lottery number would’ve been the last digits of the days take at the horse track? Lol. The good old days. Just a little extra to help you get by. It’s too much these days. The lotteries in my eyes are trying to break away from their reliance on retail. Why, I do not understand. The retail side is still profitable, but it seems to never be enough. GameGrl is right about the funds they get shuffled a lot. The player is the one who pays for it all in the end, like the old casino saying.

                        Sometimes you do the right thing just because it’s right.


                          United States
                          Member #188740
                          March 22, 2018
                          172 Posts
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                          Obviously time travels with the trends. And trends travel with time.

                          I love baklava! I know you don't give a s*** LOL

                            Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                            100
                            Zeta Reticuli Star System
                            United States
                            Member #30469
                            January 17, 2006
                            11561 Posts
                            Offline

                            TheGameGrl,

                            From Wikipedia, Gambling in PA;

                            Illegal gambling

                            Even with the proliferation of gambling in the state in recent years as Pennsylvania's gaming laws become more permissive, illegal gambling is still commonplace in Pennsylvania. Many bars, private clubs, truck stops, fire company social halls, and many other establishments have long allowed slot machines or video poker machines on the premises.[27]  Legislation has often been discussed about legalizing and regulating VGTs in these establishments, but it has yet to pass.[28]  Currently, enforcement is typically done by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and there are an estimated 40,000 illegal machines throughout the state.[29]

                            Even with the legalization of sports betting in the state, the high tax rate of 36% and licensure fee of $10 million may allow the underground economy of bookmakers to continue to flourish.[30]

                            Casinos;

                            Standalone casinos

                            Resort casinos

                            • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling_in_Pennsylvania#Casinos

                            Sands and Lady Luck are both Vegas entities, not sure of the others.

                            when the river boat expansion started the casinos promised proposed locations all kinds of increased business.

                            In some spots it happened but for the most part the businesses around the casinos folded.....most players lose. When they got off the boat they6 simply got into their cars and drove home. Those casinos knew from the start that they would eventually be land based but by that time a lot of the businesses that were expecting more business had already boarded up.

                            //////////////////////////////////////////

                            Soledad,

                            Oh for those days of getting 'the number' fro0m the race track handle. 

                            I remember seeing young grade school kids in NJ buying The Daily News, looking at the racing page, saying "Aw s&$%" and throwing the paper in the trash.

                            ///////////////////////////////////////////

                            amber124,

                            Enjoy the baklava!

                            Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

                            Lep

                            There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.