Pennsylvania Skill Games Navigate Supreme Court Verdict: Insights from US gaming law specialist Jeremy Kleiman
Jeremy Kleiman of Saiber LLC warns of industry impact amid ongoing legal battle on legalizing skill games in Pennsylvania
The recent Commonwealth Court decision in Pennsylvania, declaring skill games legal, appears to be a triumph for skill game operators, as it reinforced the legality of their products and hinted at the possibility of regulation and taxation.
Jeremy Kleiman, a gaming law specialist at Saiber LLC, Attorneys at Law, provides insight into this topic and the potential consequences that this decision actually has on the market.
First and foremost, Mr. Kleiman warns that the legal battle is not yet over, as fourteen Pennsylvania casinos, along with the State Attorney General, have appealed the decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and challenged its merits.
Mr. Kleiman points out that, assuming the skill game operators prevail, it will have a devastating effect on the licensed, regulated gaming industry in Pennsylvania. First, despite the skill game operators' public statements about wanting to be regulated and pay taxes, there does not appear to be any appetite in the legislature to enact new legislation to regulate and tax skill game machines. And whether they are taxed at 16% or pay no "gaming" tax at all, they will have a huge competitive advantage over the legal industry based on both tax rates and regulatory costs. Second, skill games operators have no responsible gambling or player protection obligations, and therefore pose a danger to problem gamblers.
Pennsylvania's gaming landscape remains in flux, with the Supreme Court holding the key to determining the destiny of skill games. Stakeholders across the state await the resolution of this legal duel that could reshape the industry and set a precedent for the delicate balance between regulation, taxation, and responsible gaming practices.