Gaming rollout paused to give governments chance to block it – Sharonherald

HARRISBURG – The rollout of new mini-casinos and gambling at truck stops won’t happen until after the state gives counties and local municipalities an opportunity to decide whether they want to bar the activities, according to information provided by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Thursday.

Local governments have until Dec. 31 to pass resolutions barring the mini-casinos and counties have until Dec. 29 to bar the gambling in the truck stops, the Board announced.

Once those deadlines pass, the Gaming Control Board will prepare to hold auctions in which the state’s existing casino operators will have the opportunity to obtain the licenses for the mini-casinos, said Doug Harbach, a Board spokesman.

The first auction must be held by Jan. 15.

At the same time, the Pennsylvania Lottery will be moving to implement two new forms of gambling – online gambling legalized by the Legislature’s gaming expansion bill, and a separate move to allow betting on virtual sports games in bars.

Gary Miller, a Lottery spokesman, said the online games will likely be similar to those offered by the Michigan Lottery. There, gamblers can buy Powerball and Mega Millions tickets with their phones. But gamblers in Michigan can also play instant games and keno on their phones or computers.

Pennsylvania will become just the fourth state to allow players to gamble on “eScratchers,” the equivalent of buying an instant ticket on your phone, according to an analysis by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC, a California-based gambling market research firm.

As a result, “We believe PA could be the largest iLottery market in the U.S.” by the third year of gaming expansion, the firm concluded.

Illinois allows people to buy Powerball and Mega Millions tickets online, but doesn’t offer instant games through its Lottery’s online platform.

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