State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Casinos file suit over state's iLottery proposal

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 24, 2018 4:36 AM

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Seven of the casinos operating in Pennsylvania are suing the state over what they see as the Lottery illegally launching a version of online casino-style games. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) - Seven Pennsylvania casinos have sued the state over its new online lottery games.

They're arguing the games violate state law because they're too similar to online casino games.

The lawsuit didn't come as a surprise--the casinos have been threatening to sue ever since the Department of Revenue unveiled its iLottery plans several months ago.

David la Torre, a spokesman working for the casinos, argued casino-style games are legally limited to casinos, and the Lottery's are too similar.

Plus, he noted, they don't have the same restrictions.

"Underage gaming comes with very expensive fines--yet the lottery is out there providing these games to people under the age of 21 with little or no oversight," he said.

He also said there's money at stake.

"Don't forget, Pennsylvania casinos generate money for property tax relief in Pennsylvania," he said. "They invest millions of dollars in local community and economic development projects--all that money takes a hit if people are playing casino-style games on the lottery website."

A spokesman for the Lottery said it's reviewing the casinos' legal argument.

He maintained the new online games are allowed under the regulation lawmakers passed last year legalizing iGaming, and said they're intended to help financially "stabilize the Lottery Fund and provide vital services to older Pennsylvanians."

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