“Sin is in” for Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal with marijuana, skills games

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

(WHTM) – Governor Josh Shapiro delivered a $48 billion budget plan on Tuesday that Republican lawmakers insist spends too much. But Shapiro also offered a few ways he wants the state to generate cash.

They are called skill games and they’re seemingly everywhere. The Governor said he would tax skills machines at 42% and is estimating $150 million in revenue during the first year.

Shapiro said, “I think it’s time for a solution. We can’t do away with them. We should regulate them in tax.”

Lawmakers are signaling that they might.

“I do think there is some belief that it is time to regulate and tax games of skill,” said Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-Armstrong, Indiana, Jefferson, and Westmoreland).

Mike Barley, chief public affairs officer of Pace O Matic said, “We’re really excited that the Shapiro administration has started that conversation at a larger level.”

Barley has fought for years to be accepted. The next fight is over who regulates and how much they’re taxed.

Thanks for signing up!

Watch for us in your inbox.

Subscribe Now

This Week in Pennsylvania

Eric Hausler, CEO of Parx, which operates casinos across the state, said, “it does seem a little odd that we’re paying 54% tax on a game and they’re paying zero.”

Parx, which paid $50 million for a license, has slots that are taxed at 54% in an industry that is heavily regulated.

“You can walk into a Burger King and watch a three-year-old playing, you know, sitting by a skill game, not playing, but sitting by a skill game. And if 18-year-olds walks into Parx, we get fined $15,000,” said Hausler.

Barley argues skills games benefit small local clubs, not multi-national casinos, so rates and regulations should be lower.

“It’s a different model, it’s a different game, I’ve never seen a skill game on the floor of a casino because a player can win all the time. again that’s been proven in court,” said Barley.

But gambling isn’t the only vice in the budget’s grip. It legalizes recreational marijuana estimating $15 million now, much more later.

“Practically all of our neighbors have legalized marijuana,” said Shapiro. “Once fully implemented would bring in more than $250 million in annual revenue.”

Senate Republicans say legal weed is a tougher sell and state Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware and Chester) says it should be. He’s running for Attorney General and lost a brother to addiction.

“It’s a gateway drug,” argued Williams. “It’s becoming more potent. It’s now becoming laced with other additives that are deadly. So I’m not a big fan of legalization.”

But with all the “green” it promises the state, Harrisburg insiders say it’s just a matter of time until marijuana gets a green light.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to ABC27.