Pennsylvanians have been able to purchase lottery games at retailers throughout the state for over four decades, but they will soon have the ability to do so from the comfort of their own homes as well.
Last fall, lawmakers passed a landmark gambling package which, apart from legalizing online casinos and a spate of satellite gambling venues, also permits the state to offer lottery games via the Internet. The bill makes PA the sixth, and most populous, US state to pass iLotto legislation to date.
But unlike iGaming sites and mini casinos, which won’t be up and running for some time, we expect to see Pennsylvania go live with its online lottery website in the very near future. In fact, temporary regulations have already been drafted, giving us a sneak peek at who will be able to play, and what games will likely be offered.
In this comprehensive guide we delve into what patrons can expect from PA’s forthcoming iLotto products, putting a special focus on the types of bonuses and promotions player’s might enjoy.
PA iLotto Promo Codes and Bonuses
We expect the Keystone State online lottery to take a page from online casinos and offer lucrative promotions and bonus incentives for both new and returning players. These types of sweeteners will be especially critical for attracting customers in a new market like PA, where many won’t even know that the option to play iLotto exists.
The organization could go about this in a variety of ways, but will likely offer a package which includes a number of Free Plays for new sign-ups, in conjunction with a match bonus for first-time depositors. This type of offer is popular in Michigan, which has seen its iLotto industry grow dramatically in the past few years. PA officials will be eager to emulate the success by following the same model.
To receive the Free Plays, players need only to create an account at the state lottery website – there is no need to make a deposit. Upon completion of the process, a handful of Free Plays are awarded, offering the chance to win real money without risking a dime.
Match bonuses are a little different, and are dependent on not just the terms of the offer, but on how much a player decides to deposit. As an example, Michigan gamblers receive a 50% match bonus credit on lotto deposits up to $200. This means that a player depositing $100 would receive $50 in bonus credits, which they could then use to play select games for free.
We stress the fact that the bonus award is not a cash prize, and cannot be withdrawn. However, any wins resulting from credit play can be cashed out at will.
Who can play PA iLottery?
To play online lottery games in the state, regulators require that players meet the following criteria:
- 18+ years of age: Just like at land-based retailers, iLotto patrons will need to be at least 18 years old to play. This is in contrast to PA online casinos, where players must be at least 21.
- Physically inside Pennsylvania: The PA lotto website will require players be located physically inside the state at the time of play. To verify this, patrons will need to install special geolocation software which will pinpoint their exact location.
- No relation to lottery officials: Family members of high-level lottery employees will not be eligible to play.
Interestingly, the PA regulations make no mention that players need to be residents, leaving open the possibility for even out-of-state gamblers to participate. This means that even visitors passing through the state could potentially create an account and play games for real money.
Signing up a PA online lottery account
Creating an account at the PA iLotto won’t be much different than registering for any other online retailer, although you might have to divulge a little more info than you would elsewhere.
To get started, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Full name and address
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Social Security number (last 4 digits)
While some might find giving out their SSN details a bit invasive, it’s a necessary step in the process, and one required by law. Regulators must crosscheck the personal information provided with government databases to confirm identities, verify age and protect against fraudulent activity.
During the sign up phase, players might be also prompted to enter any bonus codes which they are aware of. You can find the latest and best PA online lottery promo codes by checking back on this site regularly.
Game selection at Pennsylvania’s iLottery
The sheer number of games offered by state lotteries can be dizzying. Fortunately, we can usually simplify the options by separating them into three categories: Instant wins, draw games and keno.
Pennsylvania, for its part, does not currently offer keno, but sells a huge variety of draw and scratch-off (similar to instant wins) games at land-based retailers. When the lottery makes its debut online, though, we expect game selection to be limited to instant wins – at least at first. This is due to the wording of the state lotto regulations, which seem to rule out all other varieties.
That will likely change in the future, with the state adding draw games at a later date. Michigan’s iLottery took a similar path, starting off with instant wins and subsequently launching other formats.
Instant win games are commonly referred to as scratch-offs, and give players the opportunity to make a quick win without having to wait for scheduled lottery drawings. Stroll into any retailer and purchase a ticket at the price point of your choosing, scratch off the special ink and see if you have won a prize. In PA there are dozens of different instant wins to choose from, with prices ranging from $1 to $30.
In the virtual arena, instant wins have taken a much more exciting and engaging form. Lotto software developers have run wild with the format, creating variations which look less like scratch-offs, and more like modern online casino games.
But PA is especially wary of its iLottery and online gambling industry cannibalizing each other, and has prohibited iLotto games which look a little too much like traditional casino formats – namely poker, roulette, slots and blackjack.
While that may rule out a few popular instant win titles, there are plenty of others to take their place. Here are a few you might expect to see in PA:
- Lucky Falls
- Champion Raceway
- Ghostbusters Spectral Search
- Hammer Strike
When most people think of playing the lottery, they think of the big wins which can only be made from draw games. To play these games, players first fill out a special form by choosing a grouping of what they hope will be lucky numbers. They then receive a receipt and wait for a scheduled drawing. If some of their numbers are chosen, they might receive a modest payout; if all are chosen, they can potentially win a jackpot of astronomical size.
Some of the most popular draw games offered in Pennsylvania are ones that pool jackpots across multiple states, like Mega Millions and Powerball. The two games can be played by gamblers in 44 states and a few other US territories, and are seeded with a minimum of $40 million each.
Needless to say, the jackpots quickly grow to ridiculous proportions, and have been known to surpass half-a-billion, even one billion, dollars.
Other draw games offered in PA include:
- Pick 2, 3, 4, and 5
- Wild Ball
- Cash 5
- Match 6
Frequently asked questions
How do I know my personal and financial info will be safe?
Trust is paramount when making any kind of purchase online. You can rest assured that the PA lottery will keep your information safe and secure, using the same type of bulletproof encryption technology used by online banks and large e-commerce sites.
The lotto will also implement other security methods meant to block unauthorized access to your account. These include prompting the use of strong passwords, and requiring that patrons provide answers to personal security questions.
What types of responsible gaming measures will be available?
Gambling addiction is an issue which PA regulators take extremely seriously. iLotto regulations have already addressed this problem specifically, and touched on some of the safeguards which must be made available.
- Self exclusion: Players will have the option of excluding themselves from play, either permanently, or for a predetermined amount of time. During that period, they will not be allowed to make deposits or withdrawals, nor can they play for real money. They will also be removed from any lists for promotional offers.
- Deposit limits: The site will likely implement deposit maximums, or allow players to set their own personal limits.
For more information about problem gambling in PA, please check out this page.
What platforms will PA iLottery be available for?
Keystone State iLotto games will be available on a range of different devices, not just desktop computers.
- Desktop web browsers: Simply fire up the PA iLotto website inside any modern web browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, or IE) and begin playing directly on the page, no download required.
- Mobile apps: Players will be able to gamble on-the-go via dedicated iLotto apps for iOS and Android devices.
- Mobile web: If you don’t feel like downloading a mobile app, you could also play by navigating directly to the iLotto website inside your mobile web browser. The experience will not likely be as smooth as the one offered by an optimized mobile app, however.
What types of promotions can players expect?
Apart from welcome bonus packages for new patrons, we expect the PA iLotto to offer some type of ongoing promotional schedule.
It’s still too early to predict exactly what types of promos we might see in PA, but those offered in Michigan offer us a clue.
To start, players who meet certain requirements there are treated to a Daily Spin, which can yield online bonuses, in-store Free Play coupons and entries into sweepstakes. Patrons also occasionally receive bonuses on deposit reloads, which the site matches up to a certain amount.
Sending internet customers into brick-and-mortar locations to cash-in free plays might be especially attractive to PA lotto officials, who worry that online sales might take away business from land-based retailers. Fortunately, research conducted on the topic in other markets suggests that this won’t be a problem.
Can PA residents play iLotto outside of the state?
No one, not even residents, will be able to play Pennsylvania’s iLottery while outside the borders of the state. Each time a player logs in, they’ll need to pass a geolocation check, which verifies their location to a very accurate degree. The technology will also handily detect the use of any VPN or remote desktop software, which some might use to try and circumvent the rules.
Do I have to pay taxes on online lottery wins?
Yes, you will need to pay taxes on iLotto wins just as you would on big scores made playing retail draw and instant win games. Currently, if you receive winnings over a certain amount, the lottery is kind enough to send you the appropriate tax forms directly. For substantial prizes, the organization will withhold the applicable taxes directly before handing over your payment.
History of the PA lottery
The Pennsylvania lottery was established in 1971 through the Title 91 legislative act, and is overseen by the state Department of Revenue.
The lotto debuted the following year, offering 50-cent tickets for a chance to win up to $1 million in prizes in periodic drawings. The industry was an instant success, nearly doubling its first-year revenue predictions.
In 2002, Pennsylvania began offering the wildly popular Powerball games to its customers. Just a few months later, a lucky Keystone State gambler took home the top prize of $30 million. Only in 2014 did a PA player pocket the Mega Millions grand prize, banking $149 million.
The road to PA’s online lottery began in 2011, when the Department of Justice issued an opinion that the Wire Act only pertained to sports betting. The decision essentially gave states the green light to legalize not only iLotto, but online casino and poker games inside their borders.
After years of debate, Pennsylvania legalized both online gambling and online lottery in October 2017 with the passage of HB271. It became the sixth state to legalize iLotto and the fourth to regulate online gaming.
All profits from the PA lotto go directly into programs which benefit the state’s elderly population. These include initiatives offering prescription drug assistance, rent rebates and free public transportation.
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