PGCB Regulation Over Pennsylvania Skill Games ‘Would Be Fine’ With POM

Written By Corey Sharp on March 6, 2024
Image showing casino slot machines in the background along with the PA state outline featuring the Pace-O-Matic logo for a story about PlayPennsylvania speaking with POM's Mike Barley about the potential regulation of PA skill games and the PGCB's involvement.

Pennsylvania skill games are completely legal as regulation is becoming inevitable. The most likely option is the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) overseeing the games. However, another bill introduced by Rep. Danilo Burgos has the Department of Revenue (DOR) regulating the machines.

Pace-O-Matic (POM), a Georgia-based skill games manufacturer, is seeking regulation. Despite POM’s rivalry with the PGCB in recent years, Chief Public Affairs Officer Mike Barley told PlayPennsylvania POM “would be fine” with the PGCB’s involvement in oversight.

History between POM and PGCB calls for interesting future relationship

The PGCB and POM have not had the smoothest relationship over the years. In fact, it’s safe to say that the two entities have been rivals of each other.

The PGCB, along with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office (OAG), American Gaming Association (AGA) and Pennsylvania casinos, filed amicus briefs in January to fight the legality of skill games.

The Commonwealth Court ruled skill games as legal last December, which paved the way for Gov. Josh Shapiro to include tax revenue from skill games in his proposed FY budget.

In Gov. Shapiro’s proposed budget, he has the PGCB regulating skill machines.

POM has made it clear to PlayPennsylvania in the past that the company is seeking regulation. On Tuesday, Barley expressed his feelings to PlayPennsylvania on the PGCB’s potential involvement:

“We would be fine to be regulated by the PGCB, but would ask the casinos to reveal publicly their emails pressuring the gaming board to join their legal fight against skill games. Tough to be regulated by a board who wanted to kill you.”

Parx Casino CEO Eric Hausler has not been shy about his stance regarding the legality of skill games. He told PlayPennsylvania last month:

“We continue to believe that the games in operation today are essentially slot machines. We still believe that the old adage applies: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.”

Should the PGCB regulate Pennsylvania skill games, the two sides will need to put behind their differences.

POM seeking ‘fair regulatory and tax rate’ for PA skill machines

While POM has longed for skill games regulation, there needs to be a ton figured out to make everyone happy. Gov. Shapiro proposed a 42% tax on games, which would supposedly generate more than $150 million in tax revenue next fiscal year from skill games. By FY 2025-2026, machines could produce over $313 million in tax earnings.

Barley mentioned last month that the 42% tax is a bit high. However, he remains hopeful for a happy medium. He also told PlayPennsylvania this week:

“We are looking forward to working with the legislature and administration on finding a fair regulatory and tax rate that will allow skill games to continue to support small businesses and fraternal clubs for many years to come.”

POM is searching for a fair structure and tax rate that creates a long-term, stable market for small businesses that employ skill games.

Photo by PlayPennsylvania
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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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