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iLottery coming soon to a screen near you, thanks to Pa. gam

Source:sites edit:casino time:2017-12-03

It’s not just casino-style gambling that’s getting a boost in Pennsylvania. By spring, you may be able to pull up an app on your smartphone and tap your way to a lottery game.

On the train, at the beach, in the office — play your chances in the online lottery.

Part of the major gaming expansion approved by the state legislature in October, the online lottery won’t simply provide a simulation of a ticket you’d buy in a corner store but “a new type of product, a new type of experience,” said Drew Svitko, executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

And if playing the lottery on your phone or computer isn’t enough, you’ll also be able to bet in bars and taverns on virtual sports games, which were approved by Gov. Wolf the day after the gaming bill passed.

“One of our goals,” Svitko said in an interview, “is to be ubiquitous, everywhere.”

The new measures bring potentially dramatic change to the 46-year-old lottery, which ranks fifth in the nation in profits and sixth in ticket sales, as officials anticipate a growing need for lottery revenue, relied upon by Pennsylvania’s senior population. It joins a handful of other states in offering an online lottery, the new frontier in games of chance.

New Jersey, one of the first states to allow internet gaming, has considered similar proposals for online lotteries but has not yet approved one.

The scratch-off tickets and draw games Pennsylvania offers generate more than $1 billion a year for the state, which aids senior citizens through various programs — free rides, property tax and rent rebates, pharmaceutical assistance — and keeps open the doors of agencies on aging across the state. The new games are part of an endeavor to “stabilize” the lottery fund before Pennsylvania’s aging baby boomers swell the older population. (And not the only vice to fund state programs.)

“It’s sort of both an effort to make sure the lottery’s keeping up with other areas of gaming while also working to make sure that those funds are still available as more and more Pennsylvanians age,” said Wolf’s spokesman, J.J. Abbott. “Pennsylvania has an aging population, so the governor sees that as a priority to just make sure the lottery fund is as strong as it can be.”

Virtual sports, which allow players to bet on computer-generated matches or races, would bring in $75 million in the first five years, Wolf’s office projected. Online lottery could generate $100 million annually after the first three years, estimated Todd Eilers, an analyst at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

In states such as Michigan, ticket sales in retail stores have gone up since iLottery was introduced; experts say that online games can attract new customers who then begin buying tickets in person, too.

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