RADNOR, August 24, 2023 – State Senator Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery/Berks), chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee, and Senator Amanda Cappelletti (D-Montgomery/Delaware) co-hosted a public hearing yesterday in Radnor to discuss skill games in Pennsylvania.
The hearing, held at the Radnor Township Municipal Building, featured three panels of testimony from experts in gaming, regulation, and law enforcement to discuss the current status of “skill games”, an ongoing court battle over the legality of the games, and how they affect people directly and indirectly.
“The issue of skill games in Pennsylvania is a complicated topic and we really need to be thoughtful and consider all perspectives on this issue – law enforcement and gaming regulators, but also that of small business owners and our VFWs that rely on these machines for revenue,” Muth said. “Yesterday’s hearing was very informative and I look forward to continuing this discussion and working with my colleagues to address the issues raised regarding skill games in Pennsylvania.”
In submitted testimony, the American Gaming Association (AGA) indicated that the number of “skill games” significantly outnumbers the 25,746 regulated slot machines across the state. The AGA estimates that 61% of gambling machines in Pennsylvania are currently unregulated.
“Any expansion of the gaming industry in the Commonwealth is cause for skepticism and requires thoughtful action. The alarming rate at which these so-called ‘skill games’ are growing in prevalence demands a response. Yesterday’s hearing shed light on the numerous ways these skill games cause harm to Pennsylvanians and our economy,” Senator Cappelletti said. “I walked away ready to propose solutions to these problems. I hope my colleagues will join me.”
Senator Cappelletti has circulated a cosponsor memo proposing to add “skill games” to the list of illegal gambling devices in Title 18. The language of her proposed bill will be similar to what was proposed in Senate Bill 212 of the 2021-22 session.
“Yesterday‘s hearing helped me and my colleagues understand of the very serious concerns various organizations and stakeholders have about the skills game industry and how it is regulated,” Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) added. “I look forward to continue finding solutions that are fair and equitable for every Pennsylvanian.”
Participants in the hearing included Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board; Jeff Morris, Vice President for Public Affairs & Government Relations, Penn Entertainment; Chris Cykle, Vice President of Government Relations, American Gaming Association; Jack Stollsteimer, Delaware County District Attorney; and Curtis Jones, Majority Leader, Philadelphia City Council.
Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) and Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) also participated in the hearing virtually.
All submitted testimony from the policy hearing and the full video is available at SenatorMuth.com/Policy.
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Panel 1 : Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Panel 2: Gaming Industry
- Jeff Morris, Vice President for Public Affairs & Government Relations – Penn Entertainment
- Chris Cykle, Vice President of Government Relations – American Gaming Association
- Del Guerrini, President of The Pennsylvania Amusement and Music Machine Association (PAMMA)
Panel 3: Criminal Effects of Skill Gaming
- Jack Stollsteimer, District Attorney – Delaware County
- Curtis Jones, Majority Leader – Philadelphia City Council
- Background Documents Submitted by Penn Entertainment
- PENN Entertainment Presentation
- Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino Opposition to Skill Games Letter – August 23, 2023
- Casinos Amici Curiae Brief 761 CD 2023 – August 16, 2023
- Casinos Amici Curiae Brief 707 CD 2023 – August 16, 2023
- Appeal from the Order of the Honorable Andrew H. Dowling of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Civil Division, 2022-CV-06333-MD, dated March 23, 2023, Granting Motion for Return of Property
- Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, entered February 8, 2023, at No. 6673 CV 2021
- Amicus Curiae Brief Gaming Control Board – August 16, 2023
- Amicus Curiae Brief American Gaming Association – August 16, 2023