The state of Pennsylvania has been suffering increasing illegal gambling rates thanks to the rapid expansion of the offering in local convenience stores, corner stores, gas stations, pizza parlors, etc.
According to recent reports, there are currently no less than 15,000 so-called “skilled games” machines operating across the state. Despite these terminals are called games of skill, they are actually similar to regular slot machines. The machines have been blamed for hurting not only underage individuals and vulnerable adults but also entire communities in Pennsylvania.
For the time being, the machines accept $100 bills and offer payouts exceeding $1,000. Unfortunately, there is virtually no efficient protection that would prevent children from using these machines, with cases of underage individuals accessing the terminals rising on a daily basis.
An officer at the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) said in a testimony offered to the House Gaming Oversight Committee that many people believe that gambling would not hurt them. However, there are regular complaints filed by family members who lose all their money in the illegal gambling devices because of uncontrollable gambling, gambling addictions or poor judgment. Apart from that, the PSP has shared that the skill-based machines have often been helping corruption, not to mention the fact that it could lead to what the police call “improvised loansharking”.
To make things regarding the controversial machines even worse, Pennsylvania Lottery officials have publicly announced that $200 million in revenue have been drained from their revenue due to the terminals’ operation.
Campaigners Say Pennsylvania Does Not Need So Many Gambling Options
Anti-gambling campaigners in the state of Pennsylvania have opposed the approval and establishment of slot machines in the state for years and some of them are still against the gambling expansion. They have been against the patrons of gambling facilities and the machines that have been blamed for hurting the most vulnerable individuals in the state.
Back in 2017, Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania lawmakers passed legislation that led to a significant expansion of the legal gambling sector in the state. According to local anti-gambling campaigners, there has been no US state that has so far approved so many gambling opportunities for its residents at a single time.
In any case, legal gambling is in Pennsylvania to stay. What anti-gambling campaigners insist on is both local lawmakers and citizens not to turn a blind eye to the massive expansion of the harmful slot machines and their negative impact on Pennsylvanian people and communities. The opponents of gambling expansion believe that no more gambling options should be added to the local gambling industry because there are plenty of legal gambling options such as regulated casinos, Lottery games and racetracks.
Also, according to campaigners, the local competent authorities and State Police must do everything they can to remove the slot machines from Pennsylvanian communities in order to minimize the negative impact they are having on people.