Higgins says the budget crunch in the states resulting from Covid-19 will likely fuel efforts of unregulated-game
manufacturers to secure legitimacy for the games.
Budget Busters just tax us a little bit, because we’re already here, and we can make the state money.
That’s their M.O.” Higgins foresees Golden’s lobbyists continuing efforts in Pennsylvania and Missouri.
“In Missouri, we’re in the same place,” he says.
“There are several court cases pending, but none of them has seen final adjudication.
So games of skill continue to proliferate there as well.”
He also sees an uphill battle in working with state legislatures in this year of severe budget shortfalls.
“The other problem becomes that you end up with legislators who have some
Budget Busters sympathy for these skill game operators because much like in Pennsylvania,
they’re manufactured there,” Higgins says.
“And so you’ve got a senator and they’re manufactured in his home district. You’re going to have some sympathy there.”
Pace-O-Matic officials did not respond to requests to comment for this article,
Budget Busters but Higgins says they have an advantage in the battle because of financial strength.
“In Virginia, if you look up Pace-O-Matic or Queen of Virginia,
you’ll see a list as long as my forearm of lobbyists they have there,” he says.
“Why? Because they make so much money they’ll do anything they can to keep their hand on that money.
They do business as Pennsylvania Skill Games in that state.
They call themselves Cowboy Skill in Wyoming. They’re Queen of Virginia in Virginia.
They always claim they’re a local company.
“We’re casino operators.
This is a business that has been operating under the table, and even before there were skill games, there were gray-market games.
What we want to do is bring it out in the light, make it legal and regulated, and put product out there in which the public can have faith that they are what they say they are.
That’s our business model, and we’ll continue to push it.” Meanwhile, AGA and AGEM will continue their efforts to battle the proliferation of unlicensed games.
“AGEM and the AGA announced in February our campaign to put a spotlight on the spread of unregulated gaming and initially focused on Pennsylvania,
Missouri and Virginia because the legislatures in all three states have been active in considering how to get rid of the scourge of unregulated gaming growing in their states,”
says Marcus Prater, executive director of AGEM.
“We sent the AGEM-AGA Unregulated Gaming Machine Fact Sheet to every legislator in each of those states and continue to monitor developments there.
We also have a plan to inform legislators in Wyoming as they debate the future of gaming there,
and will be keeping an eye out for unscrupulous machine companies pushing their unregulated games in states grappling with the pandemic and its aftermath.
“While we understand the difficulty of stamping out unregulated gaming across the board, it’s important to continue fighting against its spread.
State legislators and law enforcement owe it to their citizens and the regulated casinos and lotteries in each of their states to combat unregulated gaming and the machine companies that don’t create any benefits except for themselves.”
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