- Pennsylvania votes and passes House Resolution 66
- February is official Esports Month in Pennsylvania
- Today, February 6, is Pennsylvania’s first Esports Day
Pennsylvania has a very active approach towards video gaming and esports. After the state announced that February is an official “Esports Month”, lawmakers are now sorting out taxes.
The Month of Esports Love in Pennsylvania
At the beginning of February, Rep. Ryan Bizzarro filed House Resolution 66, a piece of legal work that recognizes February as “Esports Month” in the state of Pennsylvania.
To most people’s surprise, there was no pushback from lawmakers who voted and passed the Resolution unanimously in the House of Representatives. Better yet, today, February 6, is the first (and hopefully annual) Esports Day, which will be held at Pennsylvania Capitol.
And join us this Wednesday for our 1st Annual Esports Day @ The Capitol in Harrisburg. 8:30am-2pm in the East Wing (behind the escalators). Press conference at 11am — including an announcement! In partnership w/@HarrisburgU @HUStormesports #advocacy #GameOnPA pic.twitter.com/Qu7j7W0aFW
— PA Esports Coalition (@paesports_org) February 4, 2019
The event has been spearheaded by the state’s Esports Coalition and certainly welcomed by fans. While esports are looking good in Pennsylvania, lawmakers have decided to indulge themselves in something slightly different – a sin tax.
The Gaming Sin Tax Comes Arrives with Esports Day
Apart from House Resolution 66, House Bill No. 109 is now going to cause some upheavals across the fabric of the gaming industry. The Bill wants to usher in a 10% “sin tax”, which will be paid out to the Digital Protection for School Safety Account. As the name suggests, the fund will focus on bolstering security measures across schools in Pennsylvania.
The Bill’s author, Rep. Christopher B. Quinn, had two reasons to introduce the bill. First, he pointed to the raising violence in the state, particularly in school districts. Secondly, he cited a common argument raised against the nature of video games – the elements of violence involved.
Based on a study published by the National Center for Health Research, Mr. Quinn used the following argument to make his case:
Studies have shown that playing violent video games can increase aggressive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings in both the short-term and long-term.
However, the study doesn’t in itself establish a link between playing violent video games and actually carrying out aggression against someone. Should Mr. Quinn bothered to read the article in its entirety, he would most certainly haven’t missed the Bottom Line, which reads:
It is important to keep in mind that violent video game exposure is only one risk factor of aggressive behavior. For example, mental illness, adverse environments, and access to guns are all risk factors of aggression and violence.
Pennsylvania is a curiously conflicting state. On the one hand, esports are on the rise, on the other, some lingering mistrust continues to pester the day-to-day activities.
Even with 10% “sin tax”, Pennsylvania is shaping itself as quite the venue for esports.