Senator Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson of Bucks County introduced Senate Bill 710 on Monday that would heighten the penalties for housing illegal gambling machines. The PA Lottery loses $2,284 per machine, and there are approximately 5,000 illegal lottery machines in Pennsylvania.
“These machines, known as Pennsylvania skill games, can be found in most public places: convenient stores, gas stations, and liquor establishments, thrift stores, and shopping malls,” explained Senator Tomlinson. “These machines can be found in every county in the state.”
Under Senate Bill 710, the first offense would be a first-degree misdemeanor and a $5,000 fine. The second offense would also be a first-degree misdemeanor that increases to a $10,000 per violation fine. The third offense would then increase to a third-degree felony and the fine would increase to 15,000 dollars per violation.
“The general assembly has worked hard to put many safeguards in place to protect children and those with gambling addictions from easy access to gambling,” says Senator Tomlinson. “I am very angry that these machines fly in those safeguards.”
The PA Lottery estimates illegal skill games cost $138 million in tax revenue per year. It has generated $29 billion for senior citizens in Pennsylvania.