LETTER: Protect vital senior programs against illegal gambling machines

in Lottery

The vital senior programs that are funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery are facing a tremendous threat. “Pennsylvania Skill Games,” which are gambling machines that are unlicensed, untaxed and considered illegal by the Commonwealth. At the current saturation point, these illegal gambling machines are negatively impacting the Lottery system by approximately $192.5 million in sales annually.

That means the Lottery-funded programs that hundreds of thousands of older Pennsylvanians rely upon will lose millions of dollars more each year if these machines are not stopped.

These critical programs provide property tax and rent rebates, transportation, care services, prescription assistance, and local services including senior centers and meals. Since the Pennsylvania Lottery’s first tickets went on sale in 1972, the Lottery has contributed $29 billion to fund these programs.

Residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania need to do everything we can to protect these vital programs. We can work to achieve this by urging lawmakers to support proposed legislation: House Bill 931, proposed by state Rep. Ed Neilson, and Senate Bill 710, proposed by state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson. Both bills address these illegal gambling machines and protect funding for senior programs by helping law enforcement crack down on them.

We need to take action now to ensure that our older residents will have peace of mind in knowing that the Lottery-funded programs they rely upon will not be threatened by the illegal gambling machines that are flooding communities throughout Pennsylvania.

Mary Sue Boyle
Southeast Region
Pennsylvania Council on Aging