Just two years after launching its online lottery ticket program, the Pennsylvania Online Lotto has set a new record, and now paces the American “iLotto” market with more than $1 billion in sales to date.

In a press release issued by Scientific Games – the backend technology provider that the Pennsylvania Lottery partnered with in May of 2018 – the Keystone State’s iLotto launch is “the most commercially successful iLottery online/mobile launch in North America to date.”

pennsylvania online lottery, man and woman on computers playing online lottery

Pennsylvania Lottery wants to offer a casino experience where they know people are—Online.

The press release also included the following comments from Pennsylvania Lottery executive director Drew Svitko, who celebrated iLotto’s historic ascent over the last two years:

Our goal in offering our players the option for online / mobile play in May 2018 was simply to meet players where they are, which is online, and it has ben exceptionally well-received.
DREW SVITKO

“Our goal in offering our players the option for online/mobile play in May 2018 was simply to meet players where they are, which is online, and it has been exceptionally well-received.

During this unprecedented time, we are reminding Lottery players that they have the option to take advantage of playing PA Lottery online games at pailottery.com. This is the only place where PA Lottery players can buy their Powerball® and Mega Millions® tickets without having to leave their homes.

This is also another way people can support older Pennsylvanians during this challenging time.”

Instant Games Help to Fuel Pennsylvania iLotto’s Meteoric Rise

Of the 46 states where lottery tickets are sold legally, only 13 allow traditional draw games like Powerball and Mega Millions to be purchased over the internet.

But in enacting a gambling expansion law passed in 2017, the Pennsylvania Lottery became just the seventh in America to offer “instant” games which can be played at a player’s leisure a la scratch-off cards.

Back in August of 2018, a coalition of brick and mortar casinos in the state filed a lawsuit against the Lottery. Per that lawsuit, which never gained traction in the courts, the casinos claimed that several instant iLotto offerings closely resembled slot machines and other games covered by exclusivity compacts.

According to the casinos, instant iLotto games like Volcano Eruption Reveal, Robin Hood, Super Gems, Big Foot, and Monster Wins – available to 18-year old players despite the state’s casino gambling age of 21 – aren’t legal under Pennsylvania law.

In the statement, Pat McHugh – who serves as group chief executive of lottery for Scientific Games – pointed to instant games as a primary driver of Pennsylvania iLotto’s growth:

“Many states will look to Pennsylvania’s program to modernize lottery products online and at retail.

Pennsylvania has effectively managed high-performing retail and digital instant games creating benefits for players, retailers and the Commonwealth’s programs supporting older Pennsylvanians.”

Coronavirus Quarantine Drives Players to Explore iLotto Options

Per the Lottery’s press release, reaching the $1 billion plateau in two years is far from the peak for iLotto – which Scientific Games expects to generate $1 billion in sales annually going forward.

One reason for the program’s popularity of late is the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which has left many longtime lotto players in search of outlets that don’t require point of sales contact.

The Lottery and Scientific Games confirmed that, when compared to the weeks before coronavirus quarantines became the norm, iLotto has experienced an 80 percent spike in sales and revenue. The rate of first-time players purchasing draw tickets or instant games has increased by 200 percent compared to the pre-coronavirus era.

The Lottery also set a new single-day record with $4.2 million in iLotto sales, while averaging $3 million per day as the coronavirus outbreak gripped the East Coast.

According to McHugh, the presence of an iLotto program allowed Pennsylvania to weather the proverbial storm by catering to players who preferred to stay home:

“What’s encouraging to states looking to launch online/mobile lottery sales is that when the COVID crisis happened, Pennsylvania had a partnership and program in place to protect vital funding – including effective management of the combined retail and digital game portfolio, an iLottery platform and services to attract and retain players, integrated to support retailers while continuing the strategic management of traditional lottery products sold in stores.”

Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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