Law.com reported that the legality of gaming devices produced by Pace-O-Matic (POM), a company based in the state of Georgia, is set to be considered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. An appeal was made possible due to Pace-O-Matic discontinuing the lawsuit. The case will address open questions surrounding how Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code interacts with the Gaming Act.
Kleinbard Partner Asserts POM Gaming Machines Legal in October Statement Amid Ongoing Litigation
Represented by Lamb McErlane, a group of six casinos was the most recent party to file an appeal in the past month, joining the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Department of Revenue (DOR) in turning to the high court to address the matter. Lamb McErlane partner Joel Frank expressed his pleasure that the issue had reached the state’s highest court.
Between the 2019 ruling and the recent discontinuance, various disputes involving discovery, motions to intervene, and changing legal representation delayed the case. Frank said the discontinuance enabled the parties to appeal. However, he is unsure of POM’s motivation for discontinuing the case.
According to an October statement made by Matthew Haverstick, who is a partner at the law firm Kleinbard, the courts have determined that POM’s games are legal, and there has been no instance where a court has declared a POM game to be unlawful gambling device.
Pennsylvania High Court to Rule on Legality of POM’s Gaming Machines
POM initiated the dispute through a 2018 petition for review asking the Commonwealth Court to declare that its games were legal under state law. In response, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (DOR) sought a declaration that POM’s games were unlawful slot machines subject to regulation under the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act.
The Commonwealth Court determined in its 2019 opinion that the Gaming Act did not apply to POM’s machines since the act governed only licensed gambling devices. The ruling, however, did not determine the legality of the devices under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. Following the ruling, which denied the DOR’s application for summary relief, the Gaming Control Board and the casinos sought to intervene.
POM’s gaming machines face widespread opposition from various agencies, including the City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, who contend that POM creates illegal gambling devices. The appellants each presented slightly different questions to the high court, but they broadly center on whether the Gaming Act regulates unlicensed slot machines and whether the act supplanted the Crimes Code’s regulation of slot machines.