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Compliance Updates

Judge Rules that Pennsylvania Skill Games are ‘Devices of Skill’

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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.

“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,” Monroe County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer Harlacher Sibum wrote.

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.

“Initially, it is this Court’s belief that the Commonwealth’s investigation shows case bias,” Dauphin County Common Pleas Judge Andrew H Dowling wrote. “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.”

“Pace-O-Matic’s Pennsylvania Skill games are legal,” the counsel for Pace-O-Matic, Matthew Haverstick of Kleinbard LLC, said. “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.”

“Again, another Pennsylvania court has found that Pennsylvania Skill games, powered by Pace-O-Matic, are legal games of predominant skill,” the Chief Public Affairs Officer for Pace-O-Matic, Mike Barley, said. “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 Pennsylvania Senator 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.

Compliance Updates

4ThePlayer Approved for License by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board!

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4ThePlayer Approved for License by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board!

 

4ThePlayer.com is delighted to announce the latest development in its expansion across the United States; in a recent meeting, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved the Company’s participation in the Commonwealth’s iGaming market.

This achievement marks a key step in their strategic US market expansion and underscores their commitment to growing their presence in the regulated US market.

Pennsylvania is the fourth market, following New Jersey, Michigan, and Connecticut, to license and embrace their player-centric and entertainment-focused games.

An exciting portfolio, featuring top-performing titles such as 4 Fantastic Lobsters and 9k Yeti will soon be launched in Pennsylvania and live across the company’s impressive customer list.

Chris Ash, the Business Development Director and co-founder of 4ThePlayer.com said: “I am thrilled we can bring our unique gaming experience to the players of Pennsylvania. After the success we have seen with these titles in other states, we are excited for players in Pennsylvania to play them!”

Pennsylvania’s online casino market has been showing a steady growth trajectory with iGaming revenue 40.5% higher at $184.9m, compared to $131.6m in 2023 with online slots revenue alone jumping 35.6% to $125.9m.

4ThePlayer games will be available in Pennsylvania via Gaming Realms, 4ThePlayer’s trusted platform partner.

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Compliance Updates

NIGC Announces Acting Chair

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The National Indian Gaming Commission announced the President’s appointment of Associate Commissioner Sharon M. Avery as Acting Chair of the Agency, effective May 15, 2024. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland recently appointed Avery to a three-year term as Associate Commissioner, effective May 6, 2024. Avery will serve both as Associate Commissioner and Acting Chair until a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed Chair is in place.

As Acting Chair, Avery has the same statutory authority to lead the Agency and take official actions as a Senate-confirmed appointee.

“I am humbled the administration has entrusted me with the distinguished opportunity to serve as the NIGC Acting Chair. In this capacity, and to the best of my abilities, I will diligently execute my duties and responsibilities designated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to continue the Agency’s regulatory oversight of tribal gaming facilities without disruption, until a permanent Chair has been confirmed,” said Avery.

Avery is an enrolled member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. She has been with the NIGC for over four years where she has served as an Associate General Counsel in the NIGC Office of General Counsel. Before joining the NIGC, Avery served for more than 10 years in the legal department for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. Most recently, she served as the Tribe’s General Counsel for Tribal Operations.

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Canada

Court Decision Upholds iGaming Ontario’s Model

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iGaming Ontario has welcomed the decision of the Ontario Superior Court, which found that iGaming Ontario’s model is consistent with the Criminal Code and that iGaming Ontario is conducting and managing igaming in the province.

“We have always been confident in our model and are pleased that the court has ruled in our favour, and that Ontarians can continue to play with confidence in our regulated igaming market,” said Martha Otton, Executive Director of iGaming Ontario.

“Ontario’s model meets the requirements and contributes to the public good by protecting players, their data and their funds, while helping to fund priority public services in Ontario, and bringing well-paid, high-tech jobs and economic development to Ontario,” Otton added.

In dismissing the application brought forward by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK), the Superior Court found that iGaming Ontario is the “operating mind” behind Ontario’s competitive igaming market in accordance with the conduct and manage requirements of the Criminal Code.

iGaming Ontario will continue to conduct and manage igaming as it has since the launch of the regulated market on April 4, 2022.

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