Pennsylvania Lawmaker Readies Legislation to Tax and Regulate Skill Games

Casino News


  • State Sen. Gene Yaw plans to release legislation to tax and regulate skill games
  • Sen. Yaw estimates $300 million in annual tax revenue for state
  • Legislation promises to “strengthen penalties” for illegal games and devices

State Sen. Gene Yaw recently sent a memo to fellow lawmakers alerting them to upcoming legislation he plans to release outlining a law tightening regulations on skill games. Sen. Yaw believes the new legislation could generate $300 million in new taxable revenue for the state.

Yaw’s legislation hopes to streamline and clean up the skill games market. With the top skill games manufacturer, Pace-O-Matic, residing in Yaw’s district, the bill hopes to solidify jobs and increase revenue for the state. 

While PA skill games have won several legal battles against Pennsylvania’s gaming industry in recent months, Sen. Yaw’s legislation could place the entire skill games industry on solid footing moving forward.

Sen. Yaw Hopes to Expand Legal Betting Establishments with New Legislation

For years, the unregulated skill games market has troubled lawmakers and law enforcement in the Keystone State. Raids and arrests have recently been overturned due to the murky laws, something that Sen. Yaw wants to clarify with his legislation. 

“Additionally, my legislation will strengthen penalties for those who operate unlicensed and illegal games and gambling devices,” Yaw writes in the memo. “These illegal gambling devices' negative impacts include but are not limited to the non-payment of local, state, or federal taxes, criminal activity, nuisance, and an increased strain on local and state law enforcement resources.”

By boosting the number of licensed outlets for skill games, companies, such as Pace-O-Matic, would benefit by increasing orders and revenue for Sen. Yaw’s district.

Pennsylvania Casinos Stand Against Skill Games Regulation

Citing skill games as a threat to their business, many Pennsylvania casinos are broadly against the expansion of gaming to non-casino locations throughout the state. Currently, six casinos, including Parx Casino and Mohegan Pennsylvania, are coming together to fight the expansion of skill games with the help of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Pennsylvania’s Gaming Act regulates slots gaming at only authorized locations and on approved machines, something the casino and PCGB hope to protect. 

A case working its way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court could force the casinos to share gaming with licensed bars, restaurants, and truck stops, something the gaming industry hopes to avoid.

Derek Blake is a freelance writer that has covered the expansion of legal sports betting in America and the regional casino business for several well-known industry websites. During his writing career, he has written profiles on dozens of athletes and focused on the collision of sports and politics.