AGA survey: Most Americans familiar with ‘skill’ machines say they’re games of chance

August 23, 2023
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New data from American Gaming Association shows people familiar with ‘skill' machines say they're a negative presence in their communities.

New American Gaming Association (AGA) data shows that Americans familiar with unregulated "skill" machines believe those devices are games of chance, not skill.

It must be noted this survey has been timed to be released ahead of an important hearing on the matter.

About two-thirds, or 65%, of those familiar with so-called "skill" games say they are no different from slot machines.

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said, “Unregulated machine manufacturers have built their businesses by duping consumers and small businesses while avoiding taxes, oversight and consumer protections. These results are further evidence that Americans see these machines as a threat that should be eliminated, not regulated.”

"Skill" machines are frequently found in bars, strip malls and convenience stores. They operate outside of the regulated gaming marketplace. Previously, AGA research estimated that 580,651 unregulated gambling machines exist in the US, representing 40% of all gambling machines across the country.

AGA's recent survey also reveals that those familiar with "skill" games view the machines as negative influences on their communities, with 71% saying "skill" machines lack player protections, 64% saying "skill" machines are too easily accessible to children and 56% saying "skill" games increase the risk of crime.

When survey respondents learned that "skill" machines are taxed at a lower rate and lack the same regulatory oversight as slot machines, two-thirds of Americans familiar with them – that is, 64% – said they were concerned about the presence of those machines in their communities.

This new data comes as the AGA and other industry stakeholders testify today during a Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing on the presence of “skill” games in the state.

Americans bet $109bn each year with unregulated "skill" machines, according to AGA estimates.

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