Pennsylvania Skill counters misleading statements made by Lottery officials

Pennsylvania Skill offers only legal video skill game in Commonwealth

Duluth, Georgia, UNITED STATES

Harrisburg, June 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lottery sales have substantially increased since skill games began operations in Pennsylvania, and in fact, the lottery may benefit financially from skill games.   

Pennsylvania Skill, made up of amusement and gaming small business owners across the state, set the record straight about lottery sales following misleading statements made by Pennsylvania lottery officials during a Senate hearing today. 

“The Lottery’s own analysis shows that their sales continue to grow, which we applaud,” said Mike Barley, spokesman for Pennsylvania Skill. “There is no evidence skill games have had any negative effect on the Lottery, and we believe skill games boost lottery sales. To date, the lottery has failed to make any studies or statistics public to support their claims that skill games harm the lottery.” 

Anecdotally, Barley said, some convenience store and grocery store owners that carry lottery tickets have seen increased lottery sales in stores once they add skill games. 

Barley referred to an exhaustive study by Dr. Peter Zaleski, chair of Villanova University Economics Department and a partner at Meadows Metrics. By looking at four nearby states that do not have skill games -- Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – Zaleski determined that from 2012 to 2019, Pennsylvania Lottery sales growth exceeded the lottery growth in those states.  

In 2018 and 2019, years in which legal skill games expanded in Pennsylvania, lottery sales in the state grew at an average annual rate of 2.22% above the four other states Zaleski examined. 

The Lottery has broken its own sales records in the last few years. At that time, Pennsylvania Skill games were in operation across the state. 

The Pennsylvania State Police also testified at the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee. Pennsylvania Skill worked with the state police when it first entered the state market. 

“The Pennsylvania State Police have previously testified that our game is legal, and that status would not change until there was either a change in the law or another court decision,” Barley said. “Neither has happened to this point. The Pennsylvania State Police know that current law states our games are legal.”

He added that there are thousands of illegal VGTs operating in the Commonwealth without a court ruling and Pennsylvania Skill supports efforts to crack down on those games.

Pennsylvania Skill has been ruled a predominant game of skill by the Court of Common Pleas in Beaver County. That case was never appealed by the Pennsylvania State Police. In order to further cement its legal status, Pennsylvania Skill has filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court. 

Barley said Pennsylvania Skill wants to see legislation pass that would provide regulation of legal skill games and a way for the industry to pay a steady stream of $250 million in tax revenue for the state each year. In addition to that, Pennsylvania Skill already pays tens of millions of dollars in taxes.

Additionally, our games are popular because players win. A true skill game cannot set payout levels because the results are based on a player’s skill. After analyzing Pennsylvania Skill data, on average, 90 percent of players win. With that said, there are many illegal VGTs masquerading as skill games that are proliferating in the commonwealth and they do have set payout levels. That is why there is a clear need for regulation, which Pennsylvania Skill strongly supports. 

Pennsylvania Skill games, which are manufactured in Williamsport, provide family-sustaining jobs in manufacturing and for many small businesses that operate the games. The industry provides a needed financial lift for fraternal clubs and veteran organizations, restaurants and bars. The revenue from skill games helps locations increase pay for staff, buy new equipment and provide health benefits for employees. 

The industry also provides charitable giving of over $1 million a year that supports Pennsylvania communities. 

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