Judge ends halt to police seizures of cash-paying games
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday lifted a month-old halt to police seizures of a prominent brand of cash-paying video machines while the courts consider whether the devices are legal under state law.
Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler denied the request to continue an injunction sought by the Williamsport-based coin-op machine distributor, Miele Manufacturing, which assembles the Pennsylvania Skill machines.
Ceisler cited testimony last week by Pennsylvania State Police Capt. James Jones, who said troopers do not target Pennsylvania Skill devices for seizure, but rather sweep them up along with other suspected illegal gambling machines during broader investigations.
She also said that, unless or until Pennsylvania Skill games are considered to be illegal, the seizures could inflict harm to its reputation and property interests.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration says the proliferating machines are illegal gambling devices and siphoned more than $200 million in revenue last year from the Pennsylvania Lottery. An ally is Pennsylvania’s casino industry, which is No. 2 in the nation in gross revenue.
Miele Manufacturing contends the machine software, made by Georgia-based Pace-O-Matic, is legal because it plays games that test skill, and are not based on chance, like gambling devices.
The machines began arriving in earnest in Pennsylvania a few years ago, and now number upward of 20,000, state police estimate.