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Volume XII, Number 273

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Giving Pennsylvanians a Second Chance: Ethics Investigation Spurs PALCB Changes in Limited-Release Lotteries

A recent ethics investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission into the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“PALCB”) has spurred changes in how the PALCB conducts limited-release lotteries.

Periodically, the PALCB conducts limited-release lotteries intending to fairly and equitably distribute rare and highly sought after spirits such as the Pappy Van Winkle Collection and the Buffalo Trace Collection. These lotteries are extremely popular; over a five-day entry period, the PALCB received more than 188,000 entries for the 2021 Van Winkle release and four other bourbons.  

However, not everyone who won the limited-release lottery ended up paying for their prize. After that happened, rather than conducting a second lottery, several PALCB officials instead bought the rare spirits with their own money. This practice was not shared with the public or unsuccessful lottery entrants.

Eventually, the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission received word of the practice and investigated. The Commission found the PALCB officials had violated no laws, but required that each official “not purchase any items offered by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board outside of the process by which a Commonwealth resident may purchase such items.”  

The PALCB acknowledged the investigation caused the agency to ensure all limited-release lottery products will be  distributed strictly through drawings.

This ethics report levels the playing field for lottery entrants seeking rare and highly sought-after spirits, potentially giving entrants a second chance at unclaimed prizes.

©2022 Norris McLaughlin P.A., All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 230
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About this Author

Theodore Zeller Attorney Norris Law Firm
Member

Theodore J. Zeller III has extensive experience in liquor law, regulatory licensing, commercial transactions, real estate transactions, and litigation.

Chair of the firm’s Liquor Law Practice Group, Ted was lead counsel in a beer rights case brought against the world’s largest brewers and is now General Counsel to D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc.

Ted’s lobbying efforts helped change various laws under the Pennsylvania Liquor Code. In 2010, Ted testified before the Senate Law and Justice Committee on behalf of Yuengling Brewery concerning House Bill 291, which addresses the...

(484) 765-2220
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