A coalition of Pennsylvania casinos on Wednesday sued to stop the Pennsylvania Lottery from offering what they say are illegal casino-style online games.
The lawsuit filed in Commonwealth Court was expected after Pennsylvania Revenue Secretary C. Daniel Hassell in June dismissed a complaint from casinos that the state agency's iLottery games mimic slot machines in violation of the state's gaming law. The law prohibits "interactive lottery games which simulate casino-style games."
The casinos also allege that the state lottery is marketing its online and mobile games to anyone as young as 18, while casinos face serious sanctions if anyone younger than 21 gambles when the casinos are launched online later this year.
A spokesman for Hassell said in July that state law authorized the launch of iLottery and "the games are being operated in accordance with the law."
In May, the Pennsylvania Lottery started its iLottery offerings, some of which the casinos complained have the same names as casino slot machines.
The iLottery offers prizes up to $250,000 and plays that cost as little as a penny, similar to slot machines.
The casinos say that the iLottery diminishes the value of the $10 million license fee the casinos pay to offer online games. Eleven casinos have applied for online licenses. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board recently approved the first three applications.
Seven of the state's 13 casinos are listed as plaintiffs in the iLottery lawsuit: Parx Casino, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, the Meadows Casino Racetrack Hotel, Stadium Casino, Valley Forge Casino Resort, and Mohegan Sun Pocono. Their lawyer is Mark Stewart of the Eckert Seamans law firm.