Monday, May 20, 2024

Philadelphia Bans Skill Games, Faces Lawsuit

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In a move that goes against the current for skill games regulation across Pennsylvania, Philadelphia has officially decided to ban businesses from offering these games. 

While PA online casinos have been complaining for months about ‘free ride’ skill games manufacturers were enjoying, thanks to their unregulated status, it appeared that the situation would be soon resolved via a legal taxation structure. However, the Philadelphia City Council is having none of this, with members voting unanimously for the ban via Bill No. 240010.

$1,000 Fine Per Game A Day for Those Who Break the Law

The ban applies to all machines with a cash payout from any establishment without a liquor license and at least 30 seats. Bars, taverns, and clubs are exempt, but are limited to no more than five video terminals.

Philadelphia media houses like Metro Philadelphia focused on the severity of the fines being faced by businesses under the new ban. Violations of the ban will attract a fine of $1,000 per game a day, with the possible revocation of their license. 

The actual bill is yet to be signed into law by Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker, but distributors of skill-based games have already moved to block it. A lawsuit was filed by G&B Amusements, which is the distributor for skill games in Philadelphia, and Tariq Jahlil, the owner of a 7-Eleven in the city. The legal proceedings are being supported by Pace-O-Matic, which are the manufacturers of the machines.

“Pennsylvania Skill and skill game software company Pace-O-Matic are alarmed that city council would pass a measure that will hurt small family-owned businesses,” said Pennsylvania Skill spokesman Mike Barley in a press statement. “We take the welfare of the city seriously and agree with council members that the number of illegal gambling machines cropping up in Philadelphia locations is a problem. A ban that includes legal skill games, however, is not the answer.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Keystone State, efforts to regulate rather than ban skill games continue, with Governor Josh Shapiro proposing a 42% tax, and others proposing a 16% system.

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