Legislators from Pennsylvania, Representative Mark Rozzi and Senator Amanda Cappelletti, proposed legislation to outlaw uncontrolled “skill” slot machines in the state. Wide-ranging effects for several independent establishments and companies that host these devices may result from this proposed shift.
Rozzi highlighted the negative impact of these machines, stating, “In addition to preying on users of the machines, skill games also steal money that should be going to Pennsylvania Lottery programs that support programs for our senior citizens. These games also divert casino patrons and negatively affect legal slot machine revenue.”
The consequences of unregulated slot machines extend to state programs. Rozzi further explained, “Given the 52% tax rate on slot machine revenue, this reduces payments to the Property Tax Relief Fund, the Race Horse Development Fund, and the economic development and local share accounts that routinely help pay for important local projects and the operations of numerous non-profit agencies, including volunteer fire companies and other public safety agencies.”
Combating Unsanctioned Gambling Devices
The possibility of illegal conduct connected to these unapproved gaming gadgets is emphasized by both MPs. Since the Gaming Act was passed in 2004, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has worked to stop these kinds of operations. The 2010 and 2017 amendments reinforced the significance of gaming occurring under regulated and monitored settings.
Cappelletti emphasized the ubiquity of these gaming machines, stating, “These gaming machines can be found in convenience stores, restaurants, malls, gas stations, and other places of business throughout Pennsylvania. Despite the illusion that the state has oversight, there are no consumer-protection measures, prevention of play by minors, assistance for problem gamblers, money-laundering controls, or other regulations protecting Pennsylvanians from these predatory machines.”
The bill seeks to alter Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Crimes and Offenses) by integrating the definition of a “slot machine” as specified in the Gaming Act, together with Cappelletti’s S.B. 969. This concept was broadened in 2017 to include all skill games. Slot machines are prohibited by Title 18 Section 5513 unless they fall under certain categories, such as those that are present in casinos that are subject to regulation.
This legislation’s introduction marks a major advancement in Pennsylvania’s efforts to control and monitor the availability of “skill” slot machines. In addition to safeguarding customers, it makes sure that the money made from acceptable gambling activities goes toward funding the state’s vital services and initiatives. As these bills advance, it will be interesting to observe how they affect Pennsylvania’s gaming industry both locally and nationally.
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