Pennsylvanians Against Gaming Expansion has once again urged lawmakers in the Keystone State to seek a tougher stance on “skill games,” which have been harming the state budget. According to the organization, citing data from the Pennsylvania Lottery, such games have cost the Pennsylvania Lottery scratch sales $650 million.
More Action Needed, Urges PAGE
The Pennsylvania State Police, Attorney General, and the state’s gambling regulator all maintain that such skill games are illegal, yet they still exist in Pennsylvania. In a press release, the organization said that unregulated gambling was harming the state’s tax revenue and licensed gambling products. A statement by the organization read:
In the following report, we show detailed analyses that estimate more than $650 million in Pennsylvania Lottery scratch sales have been lost to unregulated Games of Skill machines across the Commonwealth.PAGE
On a historic basis, Pennsylvanians Against Gambling Expansion claims that the Keystone State’s $14.9 billion realized in scratch card sales between October 2017 and March 2022 could have been much higher – 4.4% higher, in fact, the press release added. This could have translated into $200 million more for Pennsylvanians and local businesses, the organization continued.
Skill machines have proliferated since 2017, the organization’s press statement said. There has been a 17-fold increase in the number of so-called “skill machines,” PAGE noted. Organization spokesperson Pete Shelly:
This analysis should serve as a flashing red light for lawmakers. It is time, once and for all, to tighten state law and shut these machines down.Organization spokesperson Pete Shelly
Owners Push Back Against Prohibition and Bans
Shelly said that lawmakers must come together and create a regulatory framework that would give the relevant authorities untrammeled powers to act against offenders. He argued that the machines do not generate a single penny in gaming tax, he noted and added that they are also associated with a higher incidence of crime in areas where they are located.
Worse, they drain revenue from numerous state programs, such as those allocated to senior citizens, Shelly concluded. The skilled games issue in Pennsylvania continues though. Owners of such machines argue that they are the only reason they can afford to stay in business. These machines are usually installed at convenience stores, bars, or VFWs.