The Duluth, Georgia-based gaming developer successfully defended its case after police confiscated several machines and tens of thousands in cash from two businesses. The court agreed that POM’s titles were not games of chance and thus did not violate any laws. The rapid proliferation of such machines in Pennsylvania has long been a matter of contention, but this recent case means they are likely here to stay.
An Ill-Thought Raid Prompted Legal Action
The inciting incident happened in October 2021 when police raided Stroudsburg’s Fill and Fly gas station and Smokin’ Joes Tobacco Shop. The authorities seized 13 skill gaming machines and $36,000 in cash, causing the two businesses to file a joint lawsuit for the Commonwealth to return their seized property.
The ensuing court case found that the seizures had been unwarranted and neither business had broken any laws. Judge Jennifer Harlacher Sibum concluded that the devices qualified as legal games of skill rather than games of chance and were to be returned to their rightful owners. The court decision now gives POM a much more stable legal ground to expand its business.
The sudden surge in skill game cabinets across Pennsylvania has given rise to no small amount of concern. A group called Pennsylvanians Against Gaming Expansion has addressed lawmakers in the Keystone State multiple times, calling for a stricter stance on skill games. They argue that the cabinets directly impact scratch card sales, remain largely unregulated, and drain revenue from numerous state programs, such as those allocated to senior citizens.
On the other hand, POM representatives insisted that their machines significantly benefited Pennsylvania’s economy, generating nearly 200 new jobs. According to the developer, skill game cabinets were a critical supplement to the revenues of many small businesses. POM spokesman Mike Barley noted that the company was always ready to cooperate with the state regarding any new legislation.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the state General Assembly and asking for legislation providing additional regulation and increased tax money.
POM spokesman Mike Barley
Mike Barley, POM spokesman
The skill games developer rejoiced at the court’s decision, as it makes any future efforts to disrupt their foothold in Pennsylvania significantly more difficult. POM makes a point to emphasize its community-focused efforts, often featuring small business owners and information on various charities. The company has successfully defended the legality of its games multiple times, so its prominence in the Keystone State will only grow.