Pa. Lottery to add virtual sports

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Lottery will begin offering virtual games where players can wager on computer-generated football, auto racing, boxing and other sports.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said virtual sports will be offered at Lottery retailers, including bars and taverns. He said the expansion could add as much as $75 million for senior programs to the Lottery Fund over the next five years.

“The Pennsylvania Lottery provided more than $1 billion last year for older Pennsylvanians, assisting with property tax and rent rebates, transportation, care services, prescription assistance and local services such as senior centers and meals,” Wolf said in a statement Friday. “However, intense competition is straining Lottery profits as seniors are increasingly relying on these programs.”

“This action allows us to protect our commitment to seniors and stabilize funding for those vital programs, while providing Lottery retailers, including bars and taverns, with a new source of revenue,” he said.

The animated games look like a sporting event but are not actual matches or teams. Players watch on a monitor, and the winner is selected at random, similar to the Lottery’s computerized midday drawings, the governor’s office said.

In a virtual auto race, players would pick a car and watch the simulated race. When their car wins or places, they win a prize.

Wolf’s office said virtual sports have been successful in other states and countries, and usually have drawings every five to 10 minutes.

Participating retailers will receive a five-percent commission, the same as other Lottery games.

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