Governor Wolf Moves to Protect Senior Programs with New Lottery Initiative

October 27, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that he is taking action to stabilize the Lottery Fund, which supports important senior programs, by authorizing the Pennsylvania Lottery to offer virtual sports games at Lottery retailers, including bars and taverns.

“The Pennsylvania Lottery provided more than $1 billion last year for older Pennsylvanians, assisting with property tax and rent rebates, transportation, care services, prescription assistance and local services such as senior centers and meals,” said Governor Wolf. “However, intense competition is straining Lottery profits as seniors are increasingly relying on these programs.

“This action allows us to protect our commitment to seniors and stabilize funding for those vital programs, while providing Lottery retailers, including bars and taverns, with a new source of revenue.”

Under this arrangement, the Pennsylvania Lottery will offer virtual sports, which are draw-based, animated games permitted by the Lottery Law that players watch on a monitor. The games look like a sporting event, such as football, car racing, boxing and more, but are not actual matches or teams. The winner is selected at random, similar to the Lottery’s computerized midday drawings.

For example, a virtual car race would have various cars that represent numbers. Players select a car and watch the simulated race.  If their car wins or places, they win a prize.

Lottery projects this could add as much as $75 million for senior programs to the Lottery Fund over the next five years. These virtual sports games are successful in other states and countries, and usually have drawings every five to 10 minutes.

Participating retailers will receive a 5 percent commission, the same amount earned on other types of Lottery games.

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