The legalization of skill games in Pennsylvania has been a controversial topic for years, with supporters arguing that it provides a different form of entertainment and benefits local businesses, while opponents fear the impact on traditional casinos. This debate may soon be settled with the release of Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposed budget for FY 2024/2025.
The proposed budget includes estimates for proceeds from a tax on skill games, set at a rate of 42% on gross gaming revenue. The regulation of skill games would fall under the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). The tax revenue collected from these games would be deposited into an administrative account and then transferred to the state’s General Fund.
If the necessary legislation and rules are put in place by the proposed effective date of July 1, 2024, it is estimated that $150.4 million in proceeds from skill games taxes will be generated for FY 2024/2025, with the potential to increase to $313.4 million for FY 2025/2026. Governor Shapiro’s proposed budget marks a significant moment for skill games, signaling the potential future of this form of entertainment in Pennsylvania.
This development follows a court decision from late last year, in which skill games were deemed not illegal, clearing the way for their regulation. The Commonwealth Court’s decision recognized the legality of winnings from skill games, setting the stage for their potential inclusion in the state’s budget.
While the proposed budget may still undergo changes, the inclusion of tax revenue from skill games marks an important milestone in the ongoing debate over their legality. This move sends a clear signal to lawmakers about the potential future of skill games in Pennsylvania.