POM: Skill Games “No Competition” To PA Casinos Before Supreme Court Ruling

Written By Corey Sharp on June 28, 2024
A cat and a dog are best friends. PA skill games manufacturer argues, once again, it is not it competition with Keystone State casinos ahead of Supreme Court legality ruling.

Pace-O-Matic, a Georgia-based skill games manufacturer, has come out swinging one more time before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules on the legality of its games. The company “congratulated” the Pennsylvania casino industry for May revenue figures, while defending the integrity of its machines.

POM regularly points out the massive earnings casinos continue to pile up. It argues those have not been impacted by skill games.

PlayPennsylvania covered the most recent sarcastic congratulatory message back in February.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has a huge decision looming in determining whether POM’s machines are legal.

POM supports skill games tax rate of House and Senate bills

Despite the Commonwealth Court unanimously ruling skill games as legal last December, it’s now up to the Supreme Court to decide on the legality of the games.

While there is no date for when the hearing and decision will be made, POM is constantly fighting to remain legal and is seeking regulation from the state.

Pennsylvania is one of the top regulated gambling markets in the US. In May, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported $521 million in total gambling revenue.

“The increased revenue for casinos and other gambling enterprises under the jurisdiction of the PGCB is good for the commonwealth,” Mike Barley, POM spokesperson, said in a press release. “These numbers show that there is room in the state for both casinos and small businesses that operate skill games to be successful. There is no competition between the two.”

There are varying opinions of the proposed tax structures for skill games. Former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, believes the machines should be taxed at 52%, the same as casino slots.

Current Governor Josh Shapiro, allocated revenue for a 42% tax on skill games, starting this fiscal year.

Pennsylvania Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) proposed a bill last year, which includes a 16% tax rate. Representative Danilo Burgos introduced a similar bill earlier this year.

POM advocated for the Yaw and Burgos’ legislation in the press release, and issued a defense for small business in the state.

“Sadly, $521 million a month is not enough to satisfy the greedy casino industry,” Barley said. “Instead, they want to kill small businesses, American Legions, volunteer fire companies, Moose Lodges and other places that count on income from skill games. These locations could never afford to pay the same tax rate that wealthy casinos pay. Casinos know that but they simply don’t care.”

POM have repeatedly come after casinos over the last several months. It won’t have to, one way or the other, after the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Weeding through tax rate argument

Not only is Rendell a proponent of a higher tax rate, but Pete Shelly, a spokesperson for Pennsylvanians Against Gaming Expansion and Partner and Co-Founder of Clear Point Communications, representing Parx Casino, has called Yaw’s tax rate “laughably low.”

Shelly believes, at a minimum, the tax should be at least 42%, which is Shapiro’s proposal, or the same rate as casino slot machines.

Yaw, on the other hand, obviously is defending his own bill, which states that age-restricted sales business would be able to own up to five skill machines in an establishment. He believes it helps Pennsylvania casinos.

“One of the issues are the complaints from casinos that there are too many of these games out there,” Yaw told PlayPennsylvania in March. “If there’s too many of them, our legislation will actually cut down the number and regulate them. It’s exactly what [casinos] say needs to be done. So the casino industry should be supporting this legislation, not opposing it.”

It could certainly be awhile before a decision on the tax rate is made. The first order of business, though, is the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling on the legality machines.

Are the machines legal? Time will tell.

Photo by Shutterstock
Corey Sharp Avatar
Written by
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.

View all posts by Corey Sharp
Privacy Policy