The Debate on Skill Games Takes It’s Toll on PA Law Enforcement

Dane Terrell
Dane Terrell
Casino News
The Debate on Skill Games Takes It’s Toll on PA Law Enforcement


  • Unskilled games is causing issues for state law enforcement
  • The issue around underage gambling surrounds skilled games
  • Robberies are rising from skilled games
  • The PA state legislature wants to tax skilled games revenue

As the debate continues about whether skill games should be legal and receive further regulation at PA online casinos, Pennsylvania's District Attorney's Association has apparently sent a note to Governor Josh Shapiro stating that Pennsylvania's State Police are being strained by the constant back-and-forth about skill games. 

Even though Governor Shapiro and Pennsylvania's congress voted last December to uphold the legality of skill games, cities like Philadelphia have decided to prohibit arcade games in specific locations like gas stations and local grocery markets. The Pennsylvania State Police have been overwhelmed with the sheer volume of complaints and calls about the sudden emergence of arcade and sill games in local pizzerias, gas stations, and mom-and-pop grocery stores.

Besides the issue of proper PGCB regulation, these unregulated skill games have brought a rise in crime, particularly robberies. There has been an increase in people vandalizing and robbing from the machines, most notably two men stealing roughly $400,000 from some skill games outside a local mall. 

The third issue that skill games bring to the table is underaged gamblers. Because these machines are widely available to minors, legal casinos in the Keystone State are heavily regulated and scrutinized by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. They require players to be at least 21 to make a real-money wager for PA casino games and PA sports betting. However, Pennsylvania only requires bettors to be at least eighteen for the state lottery and horse racing. 

Recently, you might recall that several states are scrutinizing Dave and Busters for allowing eighteen-year-olds and older to gamble on arcade table games at their locations. States like Ohio are already looking to pass legislation to ban this kind of activity, while the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board plans to look deeper into the issue. 

So, in addition to minors playing, many store employees are minors themselves. ​Proper regulation can boost Pennsylvania's state police's ability to regulate and enforce the law when infractions occur. 

Specifically in the Keystone State, the issue of the legality of skill games has come under fire. Some state congress officials claim that skill games open the door to illegal PA online gambling. In contrast, others claim that it calls for more regulation so it doesn't compete or tear down the multi-billion annual revenue stream that Pennsylvania online casinos bring through PA online roulette, online blackjack, and online slots

Besides underage gambling and the crime associated with it, skill games need to be regulated in order to properly tax them and provide more revenue for the state. In the current state, it's estimated that Pennsylvania is losing millions in gambling taxes. Next to Nevada, PA online casinos and its land-based casinos, which have been legal since 2004, generate the second most tax revenue, nearly $6 billion, which is only behind Nevada. 

Dane is a 2003 graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting. During his college days, Dane interned for KRON 4 News, a major television station in the San Francisco Bay Area where he wrote sports copy for now-retired, and legendary sports broadcaster Gary Radnich. Post graduation, Dane kept writing and starting writing copy for the emerging iGaming industry. Dane also loves to write screenplays and loves to develop websites, with Laravel and React. And every know an then, Dane loves a peaceful train