Pennsylvania skill games fight is on

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Fourteen casinos and the state attorney general have appealed a Commonwealth Court ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that electronic skill games are legal, PlayPennsylvania reported.

In December, the Commonwealth Court upheld a county court judge’s ruling that so-called skill games generally found in restaurants, bars, convenience stores and private clubs are not illegal gambling devices.

Casino operators argue that the lower court’s ruling opens the floodgates for unlicensed, unregulated, unlawful slot machines to dominate Pennsylvania’s gaming landscape in a manner the General Assembly sought to prevent.

Operators further argue that the ruling allows unregulated skill games to skirt the state criminal code and effectively displace legal, taxed, highly regulated gaming across Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office cited Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent that if it acts like a slot machine and operates like a slot machine, it’s a slot machine, asserting that Pennsylvania skill games remain a threat to regulated gambling as well as to vulnerable groups.

The legality of unregulated skill games has been a long-stemming issue in Pennsylvania with several suits and countersuits between casino operators and skill game operators including Pace-O-Matic, which has been vocal about its assertion it operates legally.