HARRISBURG, Pa., June 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Leaders of the CLEAR Coalition announced their opposition to legislation that would allow so-called “skill games” across Pennsylvania. A copy of their letter to lawmakers is below.
On behalf of the more than 900,000 Pennsylvanians and their families we represent, we are writing to urge you to oppose legislation that would allow tens of thousands of so-called “skill games” across the state. Even though the Pennsylvania State Police and the Office of Attorney General, among many others, concur that these machines are illegal, they continue to proliferate and siphon hundreds of millions in revenue from the Pennsylvania Lottery.
As you are aware, our lottery is the only one in the nation that dedicates all proceeds to programs for older Pennsylvanians, including meals on wheels, free or low-cost prescriptions, and other lifesaving services and programs. Every $1 pumped into a skill machine comes at the expense of a vulnerable Pennsylvanian who needs the support of these programs.
A 2022 report by the Pennsylvania Lottery states:
“In the following report, we show detailed analyses that estimate more than $650 million in Pennsylvania Lottery scratch sales have been lost to unregulated Games of Skill machines across the Commonwealth. To put it another way, the $14.9 billion in scratch product sold between October 2017 and March 2022 could have been more than 4.4% higher, which would in turn have generated over $200 million more for older Pennsylvanians and local businesses during that time.”
The Lottery analysis also found that, since 2017, the Pennsylvania Lottery retail network has seen:
- 17 times more Skill machines found on-site across the state.
- Eight times the number of retailers with at least one Skill machine.
- Six times the maximum number of Skill machines found at any one retailer; and
- The spread of Skill machines to every county in the Commonwealth.
Lottery officials recently testified that they anticipate losses of up to $170 million in the coming year.
Our coalition’s mission is to ensure that vital public services are funded appropriately to meet the needs of all Pennsylvania taxpayers. We urge you to consider the direct impact that the Lottery is having in the communities represented. Please put older Pennsylvanians first and reject proposals to allow these machines to continue to proliferate.
Thank you for your consideration of our comments. We look forward to working with you to address issues that truly matter to Pennsylvanians. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact CLEAR Coalition spokesperson Danielle Gross.
Angela Ferritto, President, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
Stephen Catanese, President, SEIU Local 668
Rich Askey, President, PSEA
David Henderson, Executive Director, AFSCME
Ken Mash, President, APSCUF
Wendell W. Young, IV, President, UFCW Local 1776 Keystone State
Robert Brooks, President, Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters
SOURCE PA CLEAR Coalition