January 4, 2024 3 min read

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Pennsylvania Casinos Continue Battle Over Skill Games Legality

The Commonwealth Court's decision, which declared skill games legal in the state, has triggered a fierce backlash from various segments of the regulated gaming industry

In a determined effort to combat the recent ruling legalizing skill games in Pennsylvania, several casinos have appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Leading the charge, Parx Casino Bensalem and Shippensburg are among the establishments that have sought an appeal from the Supreme Court. 

Despite the Commonwealth Court’s decision, the battle appears far from its conclusion. The appeal filed by Parx Casino and others argues that skill games pose a significant threat to the licensed, regulated, and supervised casino industry in the state. 

The appeal contends that these games, exempt from gaming taxes and oversight, undermine the contributions of the casino industry, which employs thousands, supports tens of thousands of jobs, and generates substantial tax revenues for the state.

A majority of Pennsylvania casinos, including Mohegan Pennsylvania, Hollywood Casino, Penn National Race Course, and others, have joined the legal fray. 

The appeal to the Supreme Court emphasizes the potential repercussions of the Commonwealth Court’s decision, asserting that the ruling of the Commonwealth Court allows unlicensed, unregulated, and illegal slot machines to potentially dominate the gaming scene in Pennsylvania, contrary to the intentions of the General Assembly.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, hinting at an appeal last month, has officially filed one this week, aligning itself with the casinos in challenging the legality of skill games. Both briefs argue that skill games should be treated as slot machines within the context of Pennsylvania’s legal framework.

The concerns highlighted in the briefs go beyond legal technicalities. They raise issues of social responsibility, noting that unregulated skill games lack the same restrictions and oversight as their regulated counterparts. 

Skill games in Pennsylvania have been a source of debate regarding regulation and taxation, gaining popularity and sparking controversy among businesses. The Commonwealth Court, which recognized the legality of wins from skill games, paved the way for potential regulation with its decision last month.

This week, Mike Barley, Chief of Public Relations at Pace-O-Matic, urged casino operators to reconsider their stance on skill games, emphasizing the need for regulation to benefit small businesses. The recent court victory has given hope to supporters of skill games, who anticipate effective regulation shortly. 

For example, Sen. Gene Yaw’s proposed bill, advocating for taxation and regulation, aims to generate an estimated $300 million for the state in its first year. 

However, casino operators remain opposed to such regulations, with Barley accusing them of hindering the process. Pace-O-Matic supports the regulation of skill games and calls for lawmakers to take necessary action.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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