Authorization of the online lottery was one of Pennsylvania Legislature major gaming legislation last year.
The expansion component of the lottery was largely overshadowed by the Expensive Invoice Items, such as online casinos and satellite casinos. But it looks like the online lottery will beat both to perfection.
the Pennsylvania Lottery expects its online lottery offerings to be operational by spring, according to an unnamed lottery spokesperson who spoke with the Tribune-Review.
This is good news for the state lottery.
After years of steady growth, lottery revenue fell 3% in 2017. The decline, attributed to aging lottery customers, is not a Pennsylvania problem. It is felt by states across the country.
Unsurprisingly, Pennsylvania is looking to “modernize” lottery offerings. How? ‘Or’ What? By selling lottery tickets and products online.
How has the online lottery fared in other states?
Full-service online lotteries currently exist in four other states (New Hampshire should launch an online lottery in early 2018):
The results have been mixed.
Michigan’s online lottery, which serves a state of approximately 10 million people, generated $20 million in online sales in the second quarter of 2017, according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming Lottery Tracker. “Sales” is a misnomer here, as the State’s report of net winnings (not ticket sales) is online lottery product sales.
Illinois’ 13 million people generated just $6.2 million during the same period. This, also according to the E&K tracker.
Several factors contribute to these divergent figures:
- Instant games are almost equivalent to a legal online casino in MI, while the Illinois Lottery lacks such options;
- The state heavily markets its lottery online;
- It offers incentives to open an account online; and
- It offers a good return to players (RTP).
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What to expect from the Pennsylvania Online Lottery
It is unclear what type of RTP Pennsylvania will offer. But based on the games available, expect Keystone State to behave more like Michigan than Illinois.
According to the Tribune-Review, Pennsylvania’s online lottery will offer even more games than Michigan’s:
- Draw games
- Instant win games
- Virtual Sports
The Pennsylvania online lottery will also be available in more locations than the Michigan one. This includes mobile devicesas well as on top video monitors at physical lottery retailers.
“The lottery is going to put three monitors on the wall here, and people can play keno and sports betting; I will have a mini-casino,” an enthusiast Greensburg News owner Al Lydic says the Tribune-Revue.
The state is betting on significant revenue from its online lottery. Like its game expansion package, the Pennsylvania Lottery is banking on online sales, both in terms of product and availability.
By adding online games, the state gives current players more options and likely refreshes its player base by attracting new, younger players.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming believes Pennsylvania “has the potential to have the biggest iLottery sales within a few years.”