In the lead up to the passing of online gambling legislation in Pennsylvania, there was a lot of talk about cannibalization.
It centered around fears shared by a number the state’s 12 existing land-based casinos that online gambling would eat away at their billion-dollar business. It was based on the idea that online and live gamblers are the same people.
Of course, those in favor of online gambling called cannibalization a myth. Using the example of New Jersey, where online gambling actually helped turn around a decade of declining revenues in Atlantic City’s brick and mortar casino industry, they proved online and live casino gambling can not only coexist, but prosper together.
They also proved online and live gamblers aren’t always the same people, successfully allaying most cannibalization concerns.
The state legislature then went on to pass comprehensive gambling expansion legislation that went beyond just legalizing online gambling. It also approved the launch of an online lottery in the state.
Online lottery versus online slots
While concerns over whether the online and brick and mortar casinos will end up competing for the same players were eased, the issue of online lottery versus online slots was largely ignored.
However, since the Pennsylvania Lottery launched online games in May 2018 that closely resemble online slots, the question of whether the online lottery and online slots will compete for the same players remains as relevant as ever.
The answer, of course, is that they likely will, considering the instant win online lottery games launched by the Pennsylvania Lottery are pretty much online slots by another name.
The games are the first legal and regulated online gambling products to be launched in Pennsylvania. The regulatory and licensing process for online slots, table games, and poker sites is still ongoing. In fact, the first online casinos in the state aren’t likely to launch until the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.
Online slots by another name?
In the meantime, 12 instant win online lottery games are now available on the Pennsylvania Lottery website and mobile app that are little more than stripped-down versions of online slots.
These days, modern online video slot machines have all kinds of bells and whistles. Many feature themes based popular films, TV shows, bands, and musicians. There are high-quality graphics and high-end soundtracks coupled with interactive video displays. Many also feature bonus rounds and side games offering the chance to win massive progressive jackpots.
The Pennsylvania Lottery’s instant win online lottery games don’t look much like this because they can’t. The state has regulations preventing the Pennsylvania Lottery from offering online lottery games that use casino themes, or simulate the play of any casino game, including slots.
Yet still, many aspects of instant win online lottery games and online slots are quite similar.
Both are purely luck-based games where players click a button and their actions have little to no impact on the outcome of the game. Both employ computerized random number generators determining each play’s outcome of each play.
Most of the Pennsylvania Lottery’s instant win online lottery games look a lot like electronic versions of a typical lottery scratch-off ticket. There’s a game play area and players try to reveal matching symbols in that area to win a prize.
However, that matching-symbol goal is the same on most slots, making most traditional scratch-off tickets more like cardboard slots than anything else.
Same games, same customers
The themes, names, and overall production value may be different, but in their essence, instant win online lottery games and online slots are very much the same.
Which means the same players will be attracted to them, putting the online lottery up against any online slot operation opening up in Pennsylvania for the same customers.
Of course, when online casinos eventually launch in PA, online slots and instant win online lotto games will compete against one another in a US market for the first time ever.
Georgia, Kentucky, and Michigan all have instant win online lottery games, but no slots. Plus, Delaware and New Jersey have online slots, but no instant win online lottery games.
So, exactly how much they will compete for the same customers remains to be seen.
Slot edge diminished
Typically, online slots would have an edge in any competition. Not only do they have the high-end graphics and video and soundtrack content that make them more fun to play, but online slots are easier to beat.
Most online slots offer a higher return to player rate (RTP) than the 87 percent RTP of PA’s instant win online lotto games. But, the state’s online gambling taxes may serve to even things out.
Pennsylvania plans to impose a 54 percent tax on slots revenue. The cost of that will likely get passed onto players. That will lower the typical online slot’s RTP to a level that makes the lotto games competitive.
The edge online slots would normally enjoy is whittled down. Therefore, the Pennsylvania Lottery’s instant win online lotto games have a better chance at succeeding. Even against the slick modern online slots.
Plus, the head start the Pennsylvania Lottery has given itself could give its games the edge.
The 12 PA Lottery instant win online lottery games available online include:
- 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
- Big Eats Little