POM ‘Alarmed’ Over Potential Pennsylvania Skill Games Ban In Philadelphia

Written By Corey Sharp on March 11, 2024 - Last Updated on March 14, 2024
Photo of a store front offering skill games for a story about POM's Mike Barley expressing concern over the new bill that would ban PA skill games from corner stores in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia City Council introduced a bill that would prohibit corner stores from operating Pennsylvania skill games. Pace-O-Matic (POM), a Georgia-based skill games manufacturer, would have fewer machines throughout Philadelphia should the bill pass.

The company recently expressed its concerns to PlayPennsylvania.

The regulated industry is against skill games because of the lack of consumer protections and the business it takes away from retail and PA online casinos. However, Philadelphia passing this bill is strictly a public safety issue.

POM responds to Philadelphia’s proposed ban on skill games in corner stores

Philadelphia Councilmember Curtis Jones proposed a bill in January that only allows licensed facilities or establishments that have an alcohol license and 30 or more seats available to possess skill games.

Should the bill be passed, it would limit the amount of machines throughout Philadelphia, which would hurt POM. Chief Public Affairs Officer Mike Barley responded to the bill, telling PlayPennsylvania:

“Pennsylvania Skill and skill game software company Pace-O-Matic are alarmed that City Council would consider a measure that will harm small family-owned businesses. On behalf of those businesses, we call on City Council to wait until pending state legislation is passed.”

The debate regarding skill games has often been centered around impacting the business of the regulated industry while protecting consumers. Councilmember Jones’ bill is bringing to light the public safety concerns that come with skill games.

A recent deadly incident between customers of a small business with skill games and Philadelphia Police perhaps brought validity to the new legislation.

POM does not address taking action against Philadelphia City Council

PlayPennsylvania asked POM whether it planned to take action against the city for proposing a bill that would limit the number of skill games. Barley did not respond, as his quote concluded with:

“Gov. Josh Shapiro and many Democratic and Republican lawmakers support efforts to regulate and tax legal skill games.”

6ABC had reported last month that POM representative Matt Haverstick said the company is filing a lawsuit to fight the bill.

While Barley made no indication to PlayPennsylvania, POM remains steadfast in the regulation and taxation of skill games.

Whether skill games are banned in Philadelphia corner stores or not, POM stands to lose revenue regardless. Gov. Josh Shapiro is proposing a 42% tax on the machines.

While skill games are legal now, they are not taxed. Barley explained to PlayPennsylvania last month why he’s seeking regulation:

“You trade whatever that short-term loss is for a long-term, stable market. Having that certainty for our small businesses, fraternal clubs and for us is worth it and beneficial. Not to mention, removing illegal equipment off the street and giving law enforcement the tools to have that cleaned up will be beneficial for everyone in the market.”

In addition to regulation, POM might have to deal with fewer machines in Philadelphia, too.

Photo by Keith Srakocic / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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