Pennsylvania State Police Seize 71 ‘Illegal’ Gambling Machines

  • A total of 71 machines were confiscated during raids between January 22 and February 25
  • Skill-based machines seized from licensed establishments, malls, convenience stores, and bars
  • Nonprofit organizations in Middletown support the machines as they are a revenue source
female using a gambling machine
Pennsylvania State Police seized 71 ‘illegal’ gambling machines advertised as skill games between January 22 through February 25. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Marked as skill-based machines

Police in Pennsylvania have confirmed that they seized a total of 71 ‘illegal’ gambling machines in a litte over one month.

Officials confiscated the gambling machines, which were marked as skill-based machines, between January 22 and February 25. Seizures took place across the state, with businesses in major cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia subject to raids.

Raids carried out across the state

The majority of machines seized came from licensed liquor establishments. Venues in Allentown, Wilkes-Barre, Altoona, Williamsport, and Erie made the list of areas affected by the police action.

illegal and unregulated gambling is a serious issue that is growing in the state

According to Captain Jeffrey Rineer, acting director of the State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, illegal and unregulated gambling is a serious issue that is growing in the state. Business owners are installing the gambling machines in malls, convenience stores, and restaurants.

Captain Rineer said: “So far in 2020, gambling machine seizures have been reported from every BLCE office, in counties from Erie to Philadelphia.”

Various companies manfacture the machines taken during the seizures. Investigations into these machines will continue, and Pennsylvania State Police will continue to confiscate those that they find.

Nonprofit organizations hit back

One issue regarding the skill-based machines began back January when several nonprofit organizations in Middletown attended a council meeting in the borough. The groups showed up to oppose an ordinance that would stop the games from being offered in the town.

Nonprofit organizations want the games to continue because they raise a significant amount of revenue. They pointed out that this money allows them to support the community financially.

Mark Stewart, an attorney for Eckert Seamans, submitted the ban proposal to the council. The proposed ordinance was submitted on behalf of Parx Casino, a gambling venue based in Bethlehem. The council did not continue with the proposal due to the opposition from the nonprofit groups.

On a state level, the games are part of a case involving Pace-O-Matic, a leading manufacturer of the skill-based machines. The group is seeking a declaration statewide that the machines are legal based on state laws. The company wants Pennsylvania State Police and other enforcement agencies to stop seizing their machines.