When the state of Pennsylvania expanded gambling in the state in 2017 it kicked off a race between the Pennsylvania Lottery and casino operators. Who were allowed to offer online games, with the Lottery staying in its niche and casino operators introducing digital casinos.
The Pennsylvania Lottery jumped out ahead in the race, introducing several options before the operators could get anything going. Leading to the operators crying foul. They took their case in front of a court, but the judge ruled in favor he Lottery. Which will likely lead to an appeal by the casino operators.
After Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf approved the state’s gambling expansion, the Lottery began offering a number of online options. Through its iLottery division that the operators asserted were identical to some of the games they were developing. They also argued that nine iLottery games had the same titles or themes as slot machines. And the fact that the payouts more closely resemble those of slot machines and not of lotteries.
The casino operators, who each had to pay $10 million to get into Gaming in Pennsylvania. Sued the Lottery, arguing that it was infringing on their turf. In total, seven venues filed suit, including all five of Pennsylvania’s racinos and Cordish Companies.
However, they did not do a good job presenting their case. Because Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer ultimately ruled that the Lottery was innocent. She chalked up any similarities to an evolving gaming market. Adding that none of the iLottery options included signature or protected content.
Jubelirer added, “Rather, they are features that: relate to technological advances in online gaming; are based on online entertainment and gaming. As well as existing entertainment sources like television and board games. Which have indisputably inspired both iLottery game and slot machines game designers. Or existed in the same or similar fashion in traditional lottery products that translated into a new online medium.”