State Police Seizes Dozens of Purported ‘Skill-Based,’ Other Illegal Gambling Devices Statewide

The Pennsylvania State Police announced today that troopers and liquor control enforcement officers confiscated 71 illegal gambling machines, including 65 video gambling devices, from 17 licensed liquor establishments between January 22 and February 25, 2020. The seizures include gambling devices marketed as “skill machines.”

The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) has confiscated machines manufactured by several companies. Additional investigations are ongoing, and more seizures are expected.

“Illegal, unregulated gambling is a serious – and growing – problem facing the commonwealth, with video gambling devices spreading beyond licensed liquor establishments into convenience stores, malls, and restaurants,” said Captain Jeffrey Rineer, acting director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. “So far in 2020, gambling machine seizures have been reported from every BLCE office, in counties from Erie to Philadelphia.”

Along with illegal gambling devices, more than $115,000 was seized as part these investigations. People who engage in illegal gambling risk criminal prosecution. In addition to criminal penalties, licensed liquor establishments engaging in illegal gambling activity are subject to administrative penalties under the liquor code.

A summary of gambling device seizures by each BLCE office is below. More information on each enforcement action may be found on the bureau’s press release page at psp.pa.gov.

DEVICES SEIZED BY DISTRICT OFFICE
DISTRICT OFFICE NO.
ALLENTOWN 5
ALTOONA 5
ERIE 6
HARRISBURG 1
PHILADELPHIA 16
PITTSBURGH 13
PUNXSUTAWNEY 12
WILKES-BARRE 5
WILLIAMSPORT 8
TOTAL DEVICES SEIZED  71

 

Illegal gambling devices, including video machines marketed as ‘games of skill,’ put consumers at risk because they lack outside monitoring to confirm fair payouts,” said Captain Rineer. “They also cause economic losses to the commonwealth because there is no mechanism in place to ensure appropriate taxes are being paid, and there is no public interest requirement for the proceeds, as exists with legal gambling in Pennsylvania.”