Skill games are a popular form of entertainment in Pennsylvania. The games, although not legal, are also not considered illegal because of their mechanics that involve “skill” rather than chance like gambling games. Given that there are no specific laws that regulate skill games, they continue to operate, despite some pushback from lawmakers and authorities.
Now, a new report released by Spotlight PA suggests that representatives of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) met with casino lobbyists privately regarding “a major competitor” and did not disclose publicly the matters they discussed. Reportedly, disclosing publicly details regarding meetings is in fact a part of the PGCB’s ethics rules.
The reported private meeting got the attention of lawmakers in the state, that have immediately taken action. As a result, Pennsylvania Rep. Jared Solomon, as well as Sen. Gene Yaw, addressed their concerns to the state Ethics Commission.
Additionally, they raised the matter with the state attorney general’s office, asking the alleged private meeting to be reviewed and to be determined whether the gambling regulator’s actions did not breach the established regulatory framework. What’s more, the duo urged for assessment of the rules on an internal level with the ultimate goal to ensure that the PGCB is immune to external influence.
Earlier this year, Sen. Yaw introduced new legislation, seeking to regulate skill games in Pennsylvania. Projections at the time claimed that the legalization of the activity can result in some $300 million in annual tax revenue.
Regulatory Bodies Need to Retain the Trust of the Public
Sen. Yaw claimed that the Pennsylvania State Police, along with the gambling regulator in the state, have been aggressive against skill games for the last few years. Writing to the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office, he claimed that raids against skill games and seizure of such devices have increased.
On the other hand, Solomon, addressing his concerns to the state’s Ethics Commission, explained that it is important for the public to have trust in regulatory bodies, such as the PGCB. He pointed out that any state regulator must adhere to the established laws.
“The people of Pennsylvania must have confidence that the regulatory bodies established by the Legislature are acting in good faith and following the law.“
Pennsylvania Rep. Jared Solomon
Richard McGarvey, a spokesperson for the PGCB explained that the regulator did not have access to the letters sent to the state Ethics Commission or the state attorney general’s office. As a result, the spokesperson refrained from commenting further.