(WTAJ) — New legislation that was announced today is aiming to crack down on the use of ” Pennsylvania skill games” by better defining *gambling, and imposing harsher penalties.
Michella Drapac says that these *games of skill* are costing the lottery millions of dollars in sales.
$138 million is how much money the Pennsylvania lottery says Pennsylvania games of skill have taken away from their sales.
“Any decrease in the amount of funds that get into the lottery fund equals fewer services that are able to be provided to older adults in Pennsylvania,” said Rebecca May-Cole, Executive Director of the Pa Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
Senate Bill 710 aims to change that by clearing up any gray area regarding the legality of Pennsylvania games of skill.
Players feed these machines cash, place bets on the selected game, and either win or lose money.
They’re popping up more in convenience stores, gas stations, and malls.
“What we’re doing is tightening up the language that if you place a bet and you can lose that dollar, or you can make more money on that dollar, that’s gambling, and the problem is they’re not overseen, there’s no oversight,” said Senator Robert Tomlinson: (R-6) Sponsor of Senate bill 710.
But according to Pennsylvania skill, there’s more to the story.
It says, a survey this year shows a majority of Pennsylvania voters strongly oppose a ban on Pennsylvania Skill Devices and want the industry better regulated.
“We’ve paid millions of dollars in taxes. There are bad actors out there, who copy our machines and do have games like slot machines that aren’t paying taxes,” said Tom Marino: Pennsylvania Skill Vice President of Government Affairs/Public Relations and Counsel.
State police say this legislation would make enforcement easier if adopted.
Under Senator Tomlins’ bill, a first offense would be a fine of at least $5,000 per violation.