Earlier this month, “game of skill machines” which are classified under the “Pennsylvania Skill” brand were subject to lots of drama. These gaming machines which are very similar to slot machines have been on the receiving end of a number of rather controversial decisions with a number of police raids being organized and court orders flying around. For the past few years, these “skill games” have been spreading rapidly throughout the Keystone State. Now, it seems that their proliferation is raising some eyebrows.
The Current State of Things
For now, one of the companies that manufacture the machines has won itself some temporary protection against police raids. This was through a court order but since it is temporary, the company is definitely not out of the woods yet. According to the state’s law enforcement, the devices are illegal. This is especially because despite their huge resemblance to slot machines they are not treated as gambling and thus not regulated.
“Unregulated video gambling terminals are a significant issue in the commonwealth, popping up in licensed liquor establishments, convenience stores, and shopping centers. Although often marketed as ‘games of skill,’ these terminals are illegal, and people and businesses who engage in illegal gambling risk prosecution,” said the state’s police spokesman.
Casino operators in the state have also been working to ensure that the “skill games” are done with. For instance, Parx Casino has been campaigning in a bid to convince the public that the machines are not only illegal but also dangerous. The casino operator cited that they are not subject to the same legal oversight on age restrictions, minimum payouts, and even tax restrictions.
All these arguments certainly hold a lot of water. Even so, the issue will only be settled either by legislative action or a court. Parties that are interested in the matter expect the issue to be resolved sometime in 2020.
The Battle for the Wire Act Continues
As Pennsylvania continues to clean up various elements of its gambling laws, the Department of Justice continues to champion the recent reinterpretation of the Wire Act. The reinterpretation of the law has been one of the most debated over the past year or so and earlier this year, it was overruled by a court of law. However, the Department of Justice is still hellbent on seeing it through and has even gone as far appealing the court ruling. In fact, they have even recently set a new compliance deadline.
Obviously, it is too early to tell how things might turn out before the newly set deadline. Neither sides of the divide seem to be willing to back down. Brace yourself for some legal action in 2020.