MUNCY, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s skill games industry leaves money on the table for veteran’s organizations, social clubs and the state, said Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) during a press conference at the Muncy American Legion today.
“This industry was a lifeline for veteran’s groups and social clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Yaw said. “Regulating and taxing skill games not only supports small businesses, but will also bring in annual revenue of more than $300 million to the state.”
Yaw introduced Senate Bill 950 to provide a regulatory framework for the industry. Pennsylvania Skill, Miele Manufacturing and Pace-o-Matic say the legislation is key to supporting small businesses across the state.
Since 2018, Pennsylvania Skill’s Charitable Giving program has donated more than $2 million in contributions from game operators to local nonprofits, fire departments, first responders, schools and veteran’s groups.
“This is the only industry that has asked to be regulated and taxed during my entire legislative career,” Yaw said. “Usually, we hear just the opposite, but here they are, asking us to regulate them and tax them for the benefit of the many worthy groups and causes skill game revenues support.”
Skills games, unlike games of chance, must be played in person and – as the name suggests – require a level of skill that can change the outcome of the game. A 2014 Court of Common Pleas decision in Beaver County deemed skill games legal, though the state has taken no steps to regulate the industry since.
Yaw recently penned an op-ed that details the impact of skill games on Pennsylvania’s economy and defends them against casino and lottery critics who falsely argue the industry hurts their revenues.
A study from Peter Zaleski, an economist and former professor at Villanova University, looked at four nearby states with lotteries and no skill games: Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. From 2012 to 2019, Pennsylvania’s lottery sales growth exceeded these states by a rate of 2.22% – contrary to the cries of the gambling industry.
“This is one of my top legislative priorities,” Yaw said. “We all know that these games are vital to American Legions, to VFWs, to social clubs, to any place where people congregate and that’s very important in today’s society.”
CONTACT: Nick Troutman, 717-787-3280