The Minnesota State Lottery and the Minnesota State Legislature recently squared off in a battle over the sale of online ticket sales and online lottery instant games. Other state lotteries are looking to internet options as a way to boost declining lottery revenues. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate decided to try to prevent any such battle from even beginning in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Senate added amendments to a House bill, HB 2110, yesterday to prohibit the State Lottery from offering “Internet instant games” or Keno unless the Legislature provides the go-ahead.
By way of background, as passed by the House in April of 2014, HB 2110 originally called for a change in the apportionment of revenue lottery sales. Specifically, the bill called for two changes to existing law. First, the bill modifies the date from (June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2014) for a change to the percentage of revenue derived from the sale of lottery tickets apportioned to property tax relief or reduced fare transit service for the elderly. Second, the bill called for the apportioned revenue for property tax relief or reduced fare transit service for the elderly to be changed to 25% (under current law the apportioned revenue should go from 27% to 30%, under the bill the apportioned revenue will go from 27% to 25%). Essentially, if passed into law, HB 2110 will decrease the amount of revenue lottery sales for property tax relief and reduced fares for seniors 2% (instead of increase 3%) and go into effect one year earlier than anticipated.
The new Senate version of the bill, now adds a measure preventing the Secretary of Revenue for the Commonwealth (and thus the State Lottery) from offering Keno or “Internet Instant Games” unless “specifically authorized by law.” “Internet Instant Games” are defined as “a lottery game in which, by the use of a computer, tablet computer or other mobile device, a player removes the covering from randomly generated numbers or letters which reveal whether the instant ticket is a winning ticket for which money is paid.”
The bill now returns to the Assembly for deliberation.