Shortly after the Pennsylvania Lottery announced a crackdown on its machines, the state’s lawmakers announced that they are introducing new gambling legislation which could potentially outlaw games of skill which at the moment can be found at many different locations across the entire state. This would mean that games of skill reached their ending point at least in the state.
As of recently, machines which are regarded as games of skill are being targeted by the state’s legislators who agree that these games should be considered illegal devices. Following the news, the state’s senator Tommy Tomlinson of R-Bucks County stated that these games are already considered illegal under the state’s current law, but this new potential legislation would only clarify their position. Naturally, this would put an end to any kind of ambiguity which may exist.
One thing is for sure, the state’s legislation wants to remove any kind of ambiguity existing. In his official statement, Tomlinson also said that all machines considered games of skills are completely illegal under the state’s most recent updates on its gaming laws. However, despite their illegality, these machines are still present at all sorts of venues including convenience stores. This means that owners still take profit from them.
Games of Skills Present in Every Pennsylvania County
What is, even more, is that machines considered as games of skills are present in every Pennsylvania county regardless of them being considered as illegal. According to the state’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the state police continues to see a rapid increase of illegal gambling devices present in all sorts of state’s liquor establishments.
Major Scott Miller said that illegal gambling activities happening in other venues other than liquor establishments such as convenience stores, shopping centers, and strip malls is even more concerning. In his official statement, Miller said that this bill which will outlaw games of skills in the state will offer clear, transparent guidelines which will help in aiding in compliance by vending distributors, club officers, and business owners. Naturally, those who violate this law will face significantly enhanced penalties.
The Bill Enforcing Strict Penalties
Speaking of those who violate this law, the bill’s strict penalties will include fines for all sorts of violations with at least $5,000 fines on first-time convictions. This fine will gradually increase to around $15,000 charged on third-time offenses. In other words, violating the law would be considered as a third-degree felony which usually carries around $15,000 fines.
When it comes to vendors and operators which would be affected by this law, the majority of them have pointed out that these kinds of machines characterized as games of skills have actually been deemed legal by the state’s 2014 court case which took place in Beaver County. Moreover, vendors and operators have also pointed out the fact that there is always some skill element present in all gambling games.
Even though these games which are in question look very similar to slot games, players have to somehow manipulate symbols included in order to score winnings. However, Tomlinson soon enough completely disputed this particular characterization by saying that just because tasks involve some skill and strategy, does not mean that they are not gambling games. He also added that these kinds of gambling machines have the massive potential to cost the state’s Lottery enormous money amount in future, hence the Lottery is supporting the state’s legislators attentions to outlaw games of skills.