Debate Over Cash-Paying Video Game Machines Reaches Commonwealth Court
Cash paying video game machines can be found in bars, grocery stores, and bowling alleys across the state. They are the center of attention in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court today. The court must decide if they are illegal.
The machines bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. None of that money goes to the state. Governor Tom Wolf’s administration is concerned that the machines are taking revenue away from the Pennsylvania Lottery.
The state is arguing that the machines are basically unlicensed slot machines that should fall under the State Gaming Act. Pace-O-Matic, a manufacturer and distributor of the machines, disagrees. It claims that playing the video games is not illegal gambling. Pace-O-Matic claims the machines offer games of skill rather than games of chance.
That argument has not stopped some police agencies throughout the state from confiscating the machines. Commonwealth Court recently ordered those raids to stop until it makes its decision.
Revenues from the machines are currently divided between the manufacturer, the distributor, and the host business. One store owner tells Erie News Now that the machines pay him a bigger percentage than the Pennsylvania Lottery.