Pennsylvania Senate Committee discusses skill games with casino and VGT operators

October 4, 2023

Legislation to regulate and tax skill games has been introduced, but planned legislation to propose a ban on the devices is also in the works.

This week, a Pennsylvania Senate committee began a round of hearings related to the as-yet controversial issue of legalizing skill games within the state. This comes a week after the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania submitted a legal brief on skill games calling for the regulation and/or seizure of video gambling devices.

In late August, a Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing also debated both the potential necessity and possibility of regulating skill games. Representatives from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) American Gaming Association (AGA) and Penn Entertainment were in attendance.

This hearing, facilitated by The Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, received testimonies from casino owners and video gaming terminal (VGT) operators, while a further hearing scheduled for today will hear from skill game operators in the state.

Senator Gene Yaw has now introduced Senate Bill 706, legislation that would authorize the Pennsylvania Revenue Department to both regulate and tax skill games. Senator Amanda Cappeletti, who was also present at the August hearing, plans to introduce further legislation to ban skill games instead.

According to local reports, Matthew Hortenstine, General Counsel for Ventures Gaming, which is part of the VGT industry, called for Pennsylvania lawmakers to contemplate allowing the expansion of VTGS in the state, saying that the devices would generate more revenue and create more jobs if permitted to be placed in bars and restaurants.

Currently, VGTs can only obtain licenses for truckstop locations where 50,000 gallons of diesel is sold per month. Committee Majority Chairman Chris Gebhard noted the difficulty for truckstops to achieve this target with the increasing popularity of electric vehicles.

Eric Hausler, CEO of Parx Casino, said of unregulated skill games, “The greatest competition we face is from within our own borders.”


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