Parx Casino Challenges the Skill Game Industry in Court
The operator of Pennsylvania’s largest casino is responding with its own litigation. The primary proponent and distributor of so-called “skill games” has been quite active on the legal front in an effort to refute claims against their business.
On October 7, Pace-O-Matic Inc., the Georgia-based developer of the Pennsylvania Skill Games name, was sued in civil court in Philadelphia by Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc., owner, and operator of the Parx Casino in Bucks County.
In the lawsuit, Pace-O-Matic is charged with deceptive advertising, unfair business practices, carelessness, and other wrongdoings for allegedly distributing thousands of devices around the state, which according to Greenwood are detrimental to it and other casino owners. The Pace-O-Matic partner Miele Manufacturing Inc., located in Williamsport, as well as Pace-O-subsidiary Matic’s POM of Pennsylvania LLC, are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The Philadelphia legal firm Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel filed the lawsuit on behalf of Greenwood and Parx, asking the court to grant specific damages based on Pace-O-Matic and Miele’s commercial activities in the state. A request for comment made by Penn Bets on Tuesday went unanswered by Pace-O-Matic.
The lawsuit is the most recent court battle in Pennsylvania’s protracted pushback against skill games. In recent years, the machines have expanded at a legal limbo in pubs, clubs, convenience stores, and other establishments. Casinos, the Pennsylvania Lottery, and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board argue that because they are neither regulated nor taxed, they pose an unfair and illicit gambling competition to the legally recognized slots industry and divert potential lottery revenue that would otherwise go to senior citizens.
According to Pace-O-Matic, using their products involves a certain amount of talent (such as memory), which elevates it beyond a game of chance and exempts it from the definition of unlawful gambling. It has decisions from lower courts on its side and a case pending the Commonwealth Court, so it has a good chance of obtaining a decision that the Pennsylvania Skill Games are legitimate throughout the state.