Pennsylvania Casinos Begin Supreme Court Battle over Skill Games

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Last month’s ruling by the Commonwealth Court, which determined skill games to be legal in Pennsylvania, has sparked intense opposition from the regulated gaming industry and now a number of casinos have appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Casinos Challenge Commonwealth Court’s Decision

Parx Casino in Bensalem and Shippensburg are two of several casinos to have lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court. The appellants argue that skill games, which are not subject to gaming taxes or regulatory oversight, jeopardize the established casino sector. This sector not only employs a vast number of people but also contributes significantly to state tax revenues.

Numerous land-based casinos based in Pennsylvania, including Mohegan Pennsylvania, Hollywood Casino, and Penn National Race Course, have joined the legal action. Their appeal argues that the Commonwealth Court’s ruling will allow the uncontrolled spread of unlicensed and unregulated gaming machines in the state, which they claim contradicts the intentions of the General Assembly.

State Attorney General Supports Casinos in Legal Action

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, having hinted at an appeal last month, has now filed it, joining the casinos in their legal battle. The filed briefs argue that skill games should fall under the same legal category as slots, as per Pennsylvania’s legislative framework.

The worries raised in these briefs extend beyond just legal arguments. They underscore the social responsibility aspect, pointing out the lack of restrictions and oversight on unregulated skill games compared to their regulated counterparts.

Skill Games Developer Calls Urges Casinos to Reconsider

Earlier this week, it was reported that Mike Barley, Chief of Public Relations at Pace-O-Matic, called on casino operators to reconsider their position on skill games, emphasizing the need for regulation to support small businesses. Following the recent court decision, there’s growing optimism among skill game proponents for effective regulation in the near future.

For instance, Sen. Gene Yaw’s proposed bill aims to regulate and tax skill games, potentially generating an estimated $300 million in its first year for the state. Despite this, casino operators are still resistant, with Barley accusing them of obstructing the regulatory process.

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