Pennsylvanians have been able to purchase lottery games at retailers throughout the state for over four decades, but they now 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.
The iLotto officially went live on May 29, 2018 with 11 instant win games. It was one of the first expanded gambling initiatives to go live in the state, ahead of online casino/poker games and sports wagering.
In this comprehensive guide we delve into what patrons can expect from PA’s iLottery products, putting a special focus on the registration process, welcome bonuses, and games, along with providing the answers to some common questions.
PA iLotto Promo Codes and Bonuses
The Keystone State online lottery has taken a page from online casinos in offering new players a generous no-deposit offer. This type of sweetener is especially critical for attracting customers in a new market like PA, where many won’t even know that the option to play iLotto exists.
New players will receive $5 free as a bonus. All that’s required to receive these funds is for players to successfully register an account. At that point, the bonus can be wagered on any PA iLotto game. Once players turnover their bonus just one time, they’ll be able to withdraw the funds as cash, or they could try their luck and continue playing.
At present the PA iLottery does not offer first time depositing players a deposit match, although it may very well in the near future. How this would presumably work is players would make an initial deposit, and the site would match their deposit (up to a certain percentage and monetary cap) as a bonus. For instance, if the offer were a 50% match up to $100, then players who deposit $50 would receive a $25 bonus, players who deposit $100 would net $50 and so forth.
Like no-deposit bonuses, match bonuses usually have to be played a certain amount before they become cashable. But if the no-deposit portion of the iLotto’s welcome package is any indication, the playthrough requirement could be as low as 1x.
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 can create an account and play games for real money.
Signing up a PA online lottery account
Creating an account at the PA iLotto isn’t much different than registering for any other online retailer, although you do have to divulge a little more info than you might elsewhere.
To get started, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Email address (used for login)
- Full name and address
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Answers to two security questions
- 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 are 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, sells a huge variety of draw and scratch-off (similar to instant wins) games at land-based retailers. It’s also recently introduced keno games, which thus far has proven a success.
Unfortunately, at present the online lottery is limited to instant wins. This 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. The PA online lottery launched with 11 of these games, as follows:
- Foxin’ Wins Reveal
- Super CashBuster
- Big Money Slingo
- Big Foot Reveal
- Crossword Cash
- Cash in the Lamp
- Super Gems
- Robin Hood Reveal
- Volcano Reveal
- Monster Wins Reveal
- CashBuster Towers
Since the initial launch, additional games have been added:
- Ballroom Bingo
- Big Eats Little
Minimum wagers for a smattering of these titles start at just $0.01, and run up to $10 per round or more.
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
Draw games are not presently available for purchase online, but we suspect that they soon will be.
Cashiering at the PA iLottery
To start, the Pennsylvania online lottery is offering players four ways in which to make deposits:
- ACH e-Check (VIP Preferred)
- MasterCard debit cards
- Visa debit cards
- PayNearMe Cash
It’s a little disappointing that more options, like PayPal, aren’t presently available. However, as the industry matures so will the number of payment processors.
For withdrawals, players can only use ACH/e-Check. Again, this is subject to change.
The minimum deposit amount is $10, and players must verify all accounts used for payments. Verification documentation typically consists of a bank statement, voided check, or card image, depending upon the vehicle used.
PA iLottery support
There are four support channels offered by the PA iLotto:
- Help Center: find answers to common questions here
- Live chat: click on the chat widget located in the lower right corner of the site to access a real person
- Phone: call toll-free at 1-833-530-PLAY (7529)
- Email: [email protected]
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 iLottery 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 iLotto implements 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 are 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.
- Cool-off: Those looking to take a break, but who don’t want to commit to self-exclusion can temporarily bar themselves from the PA iLotto site. Cool-off periods run from 3 – 30 days.
- Self exclusion: Players will have the option of excluding themselves from play, for either one or five years. 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.
- Limits: The site allows players to implement deposit, spend, and time maximums or a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
For more information about problem gambling in PA, please check out this page.
What platforms is the PA iLottery available for?
Keystone State iLotto games are 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 are able to gamble on-the-go via dedicated iLotto apps for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
What types of promotions can players expect?
Apart from welcome bonus packages for new patrons, 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. Temporary regulations for the online lotto were presented in April 2018, and the industry officially went live the next month.
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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