Pennsylvanians Against Gaming Expansion urges skill games shutdown

As the state’s fiscal year came to a close, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board published a record figure for yearly tax revenue - standing at over $2.3bn for 2022/2023.

Pennsylvanians Against Gaming Expansion has called for a tightening of state law and showdown of illegal skill games that the group suggests is costing the region hundreds of millions of dollars.

Citing a fresh analysis by the Pennsylvania Lottery, it is reported that an estimated loss of $650m in lottery scratch sales has been lost to what are dubbed “unregulated games of skill machines across the commonwealth”.

The group also adds that the Pennsylvania State Police, Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board maintain that these games represent illegal devices. 

The account, an update to a previous lottery analysis of the impact of skill games, states that: “In the following report, we show detailed analyses that estimate more than $650m in Pennsylvania Lottery scratch sales have been lost to unregulated games of skill machines across the Commonwealth. 

“To put it another way, the $14.9bn in scratch product sold between October 2017 and March 2022 could have been more than 4.4 per cent higher, which would in turn have generated over $200m more for older Pennsylvanians and local businesses during that time.”

Furthermore, the examination also found that the the Pennsylvania Lottery retail network has seen 17 times more skill machines found on-site across the state; eight times the number of retailers with at least one such entity; six times the maximum number of machines found at any one retailer; and the spread of skill machines to every county in the Commonwealth.”

“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,” said Pete Shelly, spokesman for Pennsylvanians Against Gaming Expansion.

Moreover, lawmakers have also been called upon to consider this report and associated impacts as they debate proposals to expand gaming.

“These machines do not generate a penny in gaming taxes,” Shelley added. “They also are bringing crime to communities across the state, and they drain revenue from programs for seniors that the Pennsylvania Lottery funds.”