For years, there has been ongoing debate in Pennsylvania about the legality of skill games, which are similar to slot machines but require a level of skill to play. One side argues that these games can benefit small businesses, while the other points out the lack of active regulation surrounding them.
A recent investigation into a former director at Pace-O-Matic, a leading developer of skill games, has resulted in the seizure of assets by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Rick Goodling, the former executive and national director of compliance for Pace-O-Matic, had over $400,000 in cash and accounts seized by the IRS.
The IRS seized $152,862 in cash from Goodling, as well as $194,413 from a PNC Bank account, $81,871 from a PESCU Credit Union Account, and $13,906 from a Bogowe Consulting account. Goodling, who served as a police officer for nearly 30 years before retiring from the Pennsylvania State Police in 2019, had also testified at a House Gaming Committee in the same year, discussing the efforts of a team of former state police members to remove illegal gaming machines and replace them with skill games.
Mike Barley, the chief of public relations for Pace-O-Matic, confirmed that Goodling left the company more than a month ago after the IRS investigation came to light. Barley stated that Pace-O-Matic will continue to cooperate with the IRS and law enforcement regarding the investigation.
In a significant development last year, the Commonwealth Court in Pennsylvania upheld a decision recognizing winnings from skill games as legal, solidifying the legality of these games and protecting them from seizure by law enforcement. However, there has been ongoing criticism from gambling operators against skill games, with Barley highlighting their attacks on small businesses and organizations seeking additional revenue from skill games.
Senator Gene Yaw has called for the regulation and taxation of skill game machines, estimating that legalization and taxation could generate approximately $300 million in revenue in the first year.
Overall, the ongoing debate and recent IRS investigation bring new attention to the issues surrounding skill games in Pennsylvania. As the industry continues to navigate these challenges, the future of skill games and their impact on small businesses remains uncertain.