Instant Win Gaming (IWG) congratulates the Pennsylvania Lottery for its successful defense of its internet instant category of games (also known as e-Instants). Over the course of the past three years, the Lottery worked closely with its industry partners, including IWG in particular, to reaffirm that under law e-Instants are lottery games, and not slot machine games.
In 2017, the Pennsylvania legislature sanctioned, via Act of October 30, 2017, P.L. 419, No. 42 (Act 42), the Lottery and the State’s casino industry to both offer online games, provided that the Lottery not offer any online game that simulates a casino game, and the casino industry not offer any online game that simulates a lottery game. In 2018, the Casinos in the State jointly filed a Petition against the Lottery claiming that the Lottery had overstepped its authorization by offering games, specifically their e-Instants, that simulate casino-style slot machines. On May 25, 2021, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania definitively ruled, sup-ported by a strongly detailed 47-page opinion, that e-Instants do not in any way simulate casino-style slot machines, and ordered the Petition denied and dismissed.
In summary, having reviewed Act 42, the Lottery Law, and the Gaming Law, as well as the parties’ arguments and evidence, the Court found none of the features of e-Instants challenged by the Casinos to be signature, iconic, or key features particular to casino slot machines. Rather, the Court found, 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 e-Instant and slot machine game designers; or existed in the same or similar fashion in traditional lottery products that were translated into a new online medium. Further, the Court found that spinning reels and pay lines are signature, iconic, or key features particular to casino slot machines, and that these features cannot be used by the Lottery. Importantly, however, the evidence also established that no e-Instants use these features.
Because e-Instants do not simulate casino-style slot machines, the Casinos did not establish that the Lottery is violating the Lottery Law or Act 42. Therefore, the Casinos did not meet their burden of proving an entitlement to declaratory or injunctive relief, and their Petition was denied and dismissed.
“We are very happy with this recent judgement confirming that e-Instants are distinctly lottery,” said Rhydian Fisher, CEO, Instant Win Gaming. “Starting with the very first e-Instant that we delivered back in 2001 through to the many hundreds that we delivered in 2020 alone, we have always been very deliberate to only develop games that are specifically lottery in both how they work and how they play. Therefore, we never doubted for even a moment that the e-Instants we provide to the Pennsylvania Lottery fall cleanly within their authorization under Act 42. Of course, we are gratified that the Court came to the correct conclusion. This is a great success for the Pennsylvania Lottery, the Lottery industry generally, and e-Instants specifically. It provides further confidence that we can continue to advance the iLottery category, and the digitization of instant games.”
“We are extremely pleased that the court agreed with the Lottery’s position that its internet instant games are lottery games, and do not simulate casino-style games,” said Drew Svitko, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Lottery. “As we argued before the court, the Lottery operates in accordance with the law and it was clearly the intent of the General Assembly to allow the Lottery and casinos to co-exist in the online space. The Lottery was authorized to offer digital games of chance, which are not limited only to digital representations of physical instant tickets.”
“The casinos’ attempt to effectively eliminate the Commonwealth’s iLottery program was a cynical effort to knock out a competitor, solely in the interest of increasing profits,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “The Judge’s order to dismiss this case means the $170 million generated by the Pennsylvania iLottery program can be used to fund essential services to benefit older Pennsylvanians—services which my office will continue to defend.”