The Keystone State’s gambling industry has been very successful thus far. Still, there is always room for improvement which is not too surprising considering how dynamic that space is. The Senate will be reconvening for a new session in later September and one of the things that will likely be on the agenda will be new gambling legislation.
Pennsylvania has been quite successful when it comes to regulating most forms of gambling. However, there are a few that they have not been able to handle. As such, the target of the yet-to-be-written legislation is all the remaining forms of gambling that have not been regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). That is, arguably, a huge failing on the part of the state lawmakers and the regulator.
The VGT Saga Continues
Initially, the PGCB did not take any action with regards to the video game terminals (VGTs) otherwise known as Skill machines. In early 2020, things changed when the state regulator declared these were illegal. That was, however, not enough to stop the already raging growth of the VGTs. They are everywhere from bars to convenience stores, gas stations, and fast-food joints among others.
With over 20,000 of these unlicensed machines, it is big business. But they remain untaxed, unregulated, and unmonitored. Moreover, they are often linked to criminal activities. They have drawn up enough attention.
The new legislative push to bring VGTs under state regulation is being backed by Senator Jake Corman, the President Pro Tempore of the State Senate. His proposal for a renewed legislative push aims to bring skill games under the wing of the state regulators. This also means that the games will also now be taxed just like other forms of gambling in the Keystone State.
Now, it is important to note that none of these is cast in stone. Even the stakeholders of the gambling industry have not been officially looped into the discussion. If the legislation becomes a reality, a lot could change and that makes the concerns very valid.
“As this issue holds the livelihoods of thousands of small business owners as well as the financial solvency of many of our fraternal groups, like our VFWs and American Legions in the balance, we are hopeful that there will be a well thought out and reasoned approach to this legislation.”.Mike Barley, a spokesman for Pace-O-Matic.
We can expect a lot of interesting things to happen once the details of the proposed legislation are ironed out. It is about to get very interesting for gamers and gaming businesses in the Keystone State.