Monroe County ruling is one of several this year that found PA Skill games are true games of skill
A Monroe County judge has ruled that Pennsylvania Skill games are legal. Click here to read the order from Monroe County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jonathan Mark.
Games were seized in 2022 from a small business during a seizure carried out by the Monroe County District Attorney’s office, in coordination with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control and Enforcement (BLCE), even though skill games have been deemed legal by courts of law.
In his ruling, Judge Mark said Pennsylvania Skill “devices are games of skill and not games of chance.”
In a Monroe County ruling earlier this year on the seized skill games, a judge reprimanded county prosecutors alleging misconduct in the investigation and their prosecution of legal skill games. Click here to read the Monroe County order.
Monroe County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer Harlacher Sibum wrote, "The court finds that the Commonwealth improperly withheld and misrepresented material evidence relative to the issuance of the search warrant in this matter, and that such conduct warrants the suppression of the seized property."
Pennsylvania Skill games also have been deemed legal skill games by other courts this year.
Pace-O-Matic won a return of property motion in York County. This property -- gaming machines, related equipment, and cash -- was wrongfully seized by BLCE.
Click here to read the York County order.
In addition, a Dauphin County judge ruled in favor of the games and against county prosecutors this year. Click here to read the Dauphin County ruling.
Dauphin County Common Pleas Judge Andrew H. Dowling wrote, “Initially, it is this Court's belief that the Commonwealth's investigation shows case bias. The Commonwealth is seeking to make all machines like the POM Machines into illegal gambling devices, and their whole approach and intent is to shut down games regardless of the actual gameplay… Thus, the Commonwealth as a whole is biased against the games, and their approach lacks case credibility."
Matthew Haverstick of Kleinbard, LLC, counsel for Pace-O-Matic, said, "Pace-O-Matic's Pennsylvania Skill games are legal. The Commonwealth has wrongfully seized its equipment for years with no credible evidence that the games are illegal. Judges are now carefully looking at the evidence and ruling in our favor.”
Pace-O-Matic's Chief Public Affairs Officer Mike Barley added, "Again, another Pennsylvania court has found that Pennsylvania Skill games, powered by Pace-O-Matic, are legal games of predominant skill. With the legality of our games upheld repeatedly, we are eager to work with the Legislature to pass legislation that will fairly regulate and tax the skill game industry. In fact, Pace-O-Matic stands out among our competitors as the active driving force seeking additional regulation and taxation."
Legislation introduced by Sen. Gene Yaw will regulate skill games and tax them at a rate that would generate $300 million a year for the commonwealth.
Pennsylvania Skill games have been ruled games of predominant skill by courts in Beaver, Dauphin, Monroe, and York counties. Additionally, after a review of the law and court decisions, skill games also have been returned in both Clearfield and Delaware counties.
Pennsylvania Skill has pumped new life into the Commonwealth's small businesses, fraternal and social clubs, volunteer fire companies and veterans' organizations by providing an entertainment product that the public enjoys. Meanwhile, research data proves skill games do not impact the revenue of casinos and the lottery, both achieving record profits yearly.
Pennsylvania Skill games are manufactured in the Commonwealth, and over 90% of the profits stay inside the state. That is unheard of in gaming and many other industries. Pace-O-Matic is proud of its record and looks forward to continuing to benefit Pennsylvania businesses, clubs, and taxpayers now and in the future.
As part of ongoing efforts to ensure compliance, Pace-O-Matic employs a team of former state police officers to enforce all terms of contracts and codes of conduct. These contracted terms limit the number of machines, where they are placed in a location and have protections in place to prevent anyone underage from playing the devices.
In 2014, the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas ruled that Pace-O-Matic's Pennsylvania Skill games are legal as games of predominant skill. Click here to read that court decision.
In addition, last year, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and the Clearfield County District Attorney's office negotiated a settlement to return wrongfully seized Pennsylvania Skill games, related equipment and cash. Click here to read that order.