Pennsylvania lawmakers return donations received from skill gaming industry

Pennsylvania lawmakers return donations received from skill gaming industry

Amid uncertainty over the legality of skill gaming, a number of influential Pennsylvania lawmakers have returned donations worth tens of thousands of dollars that they had received from the skill gaming industry for their political campaigns.

Skill-based slots are quite similar to common slot machines but the biggest factor in winning a skill-based game depends on the player’s skill to play the game. In simple words, the outcome of the game is based on skill rather than chance. Thus, the controversial skill-based slots also allow game developers and operators to create inconsistent paybacks based on a broad range of factors.

In the Harrisburg capital of Pennsylvania, the legality of skill gaming is being discussed again. State Lottery officials recently testified that the skill-based gaming slots cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars annually in lost lottery proceeds. According to State Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko, slot terminals are resulting in $145 million in reduced sales of scratch-off lottery tickets each year. Svitko’s arguments prompted many lawmakers to return contributions from businesses invested in the slots industry.

Urging the state lawmakers to put a complete ban on skill gaming, the opponents also argue that these controversial machines don’t make any contributions to the state economy as these gaming operations are neither taxed nor regulated.

Capt. Jeffrey Rineer, the director of operations for the Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, said they were unable to take any action against skill-based gaming operations because the state’s constitution has no set definition of a skill game or skill gaming terminals. He urged the state lawmakers to quickly pass legislation to make the skill gaming machines illegal.

Speaking on the topic, he said, “There is no set definition of what is being called a skill game. It is merely an industry term that is designed to market these devices as something other than a slot machine.”

As debates over the legality of skill gaming is once again started in the state, several lawmakers returned the political campaign donations made by the skill gaming industry. Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, a Republican from Centre County, said he returned $27,000 that he had received from Georgia-based skill gaming machine manufacturer Pace-O-Matic (POM). Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, a republican from Westmoreland County, returned $16,500 to POM, saying she was concerned about the amount of money being spreading around by the controversial industry.