Pennsylvania skill gaming not game of chance – Court ruling

by Pride
Published 15/02/2023

A state judge recently ruled that the Monroe County DA overstepped by allowing a raid on Pennsylvania Skill cabinets. 

Key takeaways:

  • October 2021 skill gaming raid illegal 
  • “Devices at issue are legal games of skill, and that the commonwealth has failed to establish that the devices, as designed, are games of chance,”  – Monroe County Common Pleas Judge

Pace-O-Matic, a leading skills games manufacturer in 6 US states, including PA, is happy with the recent ruling handed down by Monroe County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer Harlacher Sibum. In her ruling, Judge Harlacher Sibum said Monroe County DA overstepped his authority when he signed off on a skills games raid in 2021. 

Pennsylvania Skills cabinets NOT a game of chance 

The casino industry has always had a sour relationship with skills cabinets and games, describing them as clever slot machines used for illegal gambling. A report by the American Gambling Association says that skills games account for over $100 billion in coin wagers annually.

Pace-O-Matic has maintained that its products require more than dumb luck for a player to succeed. According to the skills games manufacturer, skills games differ from slots in that players must identify the winning payline. 

Monroe County Court Judge agrees 

In handing down her ruling, Judge Jennifer Harlacher Sibum said, “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,”

“The court finds that the devices at issue are legal games of skill and that the commonwealth has failed to establish that the devices, as designed, are games of chance,” added the judge.

Pace-O-Matic happy with the court’s decision 

Unsurprisingly, the leading skills games manufacturer is happy with the outcome. In a statement, the company said that;

“The prosecutor’s behavior, in this case, has been egregious, and we are deeply concerned about the motivation to disregard, bend, and violate the law and our constitutional rights in a coordinated effort to harm our company and the small businesses, clubs, and veterans groups that benefit from skill game revenue.”