Pennsylvania Lawmakers Return Donations from Skill Gaming Companies
Members of congress from Pennsylvania have recently returned donations from skill gaming companies received as part of political campaigning.
For quite some time, skill games have been under scrutiny in the state of Pennsylvania. Just this week, lawmakers were at the capital to discuss the slot style games that are offered in the state. Officials from the lottery were on hand to testify as to how the games affect the state. According to officials, hundreds of millions are lost each year due to the games. Because of this revelation, some lawmakers have decided to return contributions they were given by companies that have investments in the skill game machines.
Hurting the Lottery
Drew Svitko, the Executive Director of the lottery, said in his testimony that skill games are cutting around $145 million in ticket sales for scratch offs in Pennsylvania. Svitko pointed out that the skill games are illegal and players are paying to play without the operators having to pay taxes. The players are also at risk due to the fact that the games are not regulated.
Apparently, lottery retailers are pushing the skill games instead of lottery sales, which has harmed the bottom line of the lottery. Because of this information, some lawmakers have decided to return contributions they received as part of political campaigns from companies connected to the machines.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman said he is concerned about the amount of money spreading around and has decided to return $27,000 that was contributed to his campaign by Pace-O-Matic. The company is a manufacturer based in Georgia that creates the skill games.
Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward plans to return $16,500 from the same company. Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa was given $10,000 two years ago from the company and will be returning it as well.
For Pace-O-Matic, the company disagrees with the skill game negatives pushed by certain lawmakers. They say that the lottery revenues in the state have actually increased since the machines have been installed throughout the state.
Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement operations director Captain Jeffrey Rineer says that lawmakers need to make the games illegal. According to Rineer, there is no set term that describes what a skill game is. It is just a term used in the industry to describe something that is not a slot machine.
Operators Want Games to Stay
While casinos and certain officials want to see the games banned, operators want to keep the money flowing. Shop and restaurant owners that offer the skill games have seen an increase in revenues that has been helpful to their bottom line.
Sprankle Neighborhood Market store owner, Ryan Sprankle, told USA Today that the skill games have been a game changer. The owner says that the machines have provided so much revenue that he has been able to offer full benefits as well as meals to employees who work full time. The business is able to keep around 40% of the proceeds from the machines.
For Pace-O-Matic, the company wants to see legislators approve a measure that would legalize the skill games. The company has been trying to legitimize the industry for quite some time based on legal terms. They already feel that the services they offer are on the up and up.
According to Matt Haverstick, the attorney for the gaming company, the skill games do not provide revenues to the state. However, Pace-O-Matic does pay income and sales taxes, which goes to the state.
The return of campaign contributions is not a good sign that the skill games will win out on the effort to stay in business. However, we expect the games will continue running until some type of legislation is put forth that approves them or calls them out as illegal gaming options.