Pennsylvania casinos lose in court over online lottery games

The Sentinel
Wild Casino

HARRISBURG — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by owners of seven Pennsylvania casinos trying to shut down the state's online lottery games, rejecting the casinos' arguments that the lottery's internet-based games used systems unique enough to slot machines and casino-style gambling to violate state law.

Tuesday's decision by Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer is a victory for the Pennsylvania Lottery, preserving a growing source of cash for the agency as it heads towards a record-breaking $5 billion in sales for this fiscal year.

The casino owners, including Penn National Gaming Inc. and Caesars Entertainment Corp., argued that the iLottery uses functions like random number generators that are either used by casino games or patented by them.

They said that violates a 2017 law that authorized the lottery to offer games online, but prohibited them from offering games that “simulate” casino-style games.

Jubelirer sided with lottery officials who testified that the systems used by the iLottery are not unique to casino games and have long been used in lottery games.

Mark Stewart, the casinos' lawyer, said his clients are evaluating the court's decision and considering their legal options.The state began offering iLottery games in 2018. Online games will surpass $900 million in sales this fiscal year, the lottery said.