Skip to main content

Pennsylvania is taking its fight against skill machines to the state supreme court. With the invasion of skill machines flooding into convenience stores, bars, and other retail spaces the Pennsylvania attorney general is seeking to get them reclassified into games of chance.

Pennsylvania has made it clear they view these machines as unlicensed gambling machines. The operation of which is illegal, and subject to seizure. With an estimated 6,700 machines operating in Pennsylvania, the problem continues to cascade into an epidemic of unlicensed gambling machines.

What is a Skill Machine?

Skill games function in a legal grey zone, claiming to be based on player skill they aren’t subject to the same rules as traditional slot machines. This means they are unregulated, and not required to pay the same level of tax. However, these games functionally play the same as slot machines, with minimal impact based on player decisions. This has led to their explosion in popularity.

This lack of regulation places consumers at risk and creates less favorable playing conditions. Without common consumer protection, skill games typically provide a lower return to players at a higher cost. Research conducted by the American Gaming Association found unregulated machines kept nearly 3 times as much of a player’s money compared to regulated machines per dollar spent.

This industry only seems to be growing as well, with an estimated $109 billion wagered on these skill games a year across the United States. Skill games have become a huge business at the expense of players and lost taxes to the state.

The Solution

There are two territories of thought on correcting the issue with skill machines. First, simply ban them from retail space. With efforts in multiple states, banning these machines is a popular course of action for many lawmakers. This would prevent them from leaching money away from regulated providers, and protect consumers from unfair practices. However, this would disrupt a major source of revenue for many retailers, who rely on the income from these machines to operate.

The second option is regulation. This is the preferred option for many and would help to create a more consumer-friendly experience. Even voices from within the skill machine industry welcome regulation. Allowing operators to continue collecting revenue from their machines.

Emily Davis

Emily has a deep understanding of the gambling industry's regulatory landscape. With over 12 years of experience, she keeps readers informed about changes in legislation that affect both online and brick-and-mortar casinos.

Leave a Reply