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07/18/2024 01:37 PM
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: October 20, 2023 03:01 PM
From: Senator Frank A. Farry and Sen. Wayne D. Fontana, Sen. Tracy Pennycuick, Sen. Jimmy Dillon
To: All Senate members
Subject: Parity of Gaming Across the Commonwealth
It has been nearly 20 years since the legislature decided to legalize gambling in the Commonwealth. This wasn’t an easy decision. As a matter of fact, the legislature only passed the legislation after nearly 10 years of meetings and debate. The result led by my predecessor, Senator Tommy Tomlinson, was a tough but fair piece of legislation that has created nearly 25,000 direct jobs and countless indirect jobs across the Commonwealth, generated $20 billion of revenue for the state. It introduced the strongest oversight in the country as well as strict consumer protections for the customer. While that history is helpful, it is not complete. Since the original bill was signed into law in 2004, we have legalized table games, sports betting, internet gaming, and Category 4 casinos. And when people came in to operate illegal operations, like Internet Cafes, we stepped in and banned them. As the landscape has changed, the Legislature has strived to continue the controlled and sensible development of the industry, while maintaining the appropriate degree of parity for all stakeholders- the largest beneficiary being the Commonwealth itself.

The state of gaming in Pennsylvania is in flux again. Gaming machines operating under the premise of “skill” have proliferated across every corner of the Commonwealth. No one knows how many of these machines exist, where they exist, or how much revenue these machines generate and what they actually pay out. We join our many colleagues who believe it is now time for the Legislature to act to address this situation.

In the near future, we will be introducing legislation that will bring parity to gaming across the commonwealth. This legislation will look to create a new gaming license for establishments that serve alcohol including both clubs and bars. These licenses will allow casino slot machines, VGTs, or skill games to be placed into these regulated establishments. This legislation will call for the licensing, regulation, and taxation of skill games.  This also provides the opportunity for the Legislature to examine issues within Title 4 and reform parts of that Title that will provide a better industry as a whole. 

It is our hope that you join us in cosponsoring this timely legislation, and if you have any questions, please contact Ryan Skoczylas in my office at 717-787-5072.

Introduced as SB1142