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Unregulated ‘Skill’ Machines are Games of Chance, Say Two-Thirds of Americans Familiar with Them





New AGA data shows majority of Americans concerned about dangers of ‘skill’ games

Among Americans familiar with unregulated ‘skill’ machines, a decisive majority recognize that these devices are games of chance, not skill, according to new American Gaming Association (AGA) data. Two-thirds (65%) of those who are familiar with ‘skill’ games say that they are no different from slot machines where wins are based on random chance and that even a skilled player cannot reliably influence the outcome.

“Unregulated machine manufacturers have built their businesses by duping consumers and small businesses while avoiding taxes, oversight and consumer protections,” the President and Chief Executive Officer for the AGA, Bill Miller, said. “These results are further evidence that Americans see these machines as a threat that should be eliminated, not regulated.”

‘Skill’ machines are often found in convenience stores, bars, strip malls and other community establishments, operating outside of the regulated gaming marketplace. Previous AGA research estimates that 580,651 unregulated gambling machines exist in the United States, constituting 40% of all gambling machines nationwide.


The survey also reveals those familiar with ‘skill’ games overwhelmingly view the machines as negative influences in their communities:

  • 71% say ‘skill’ machines lack the player protections that are available to players in casinos.
  • 64% agree ‘skill’ machines are too easily accessible to children.
  • 56% say ‘skill’ games increase the risk of crime and endanger employees and customers of businesses where devices are located.

Upon learning that ‘skill’ machines are taxed at a far lower rate and lack the same regulatory oversight as casino slot machines, two-thirds of Americans familiar with ‘skill’ games (64%) express concern about the presence of such devices in their communities.

“Keeping America’s gaming industry strong, safe and responsible can only be done through the robust infrastructure of the well-established legal market, not by rewarding bad actors with half-measures that fail to address the dangers of unregulated gambling,” Miller said.

The new AGA data comes as the AGA and other industry stakeholders testify today during a Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing on the presence of ‘skill’ games in the state, hosted by Chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Senator Katie Muth. The hearing will be held at 11am ET at the Radnor Township Municipal building in Wayne, PA (301 Iven Ave., Wayne, PA 19087) and can be streamed online.


  • While most Americans see ‘skill’ games as similar to traditional casino slots, AGA findings show for every dollar bet by consumers, regulated machines in Nevada keep 7.2 cents on average, while unregulated machines keep 25 cents.
  • Americans wager $109 billion each year with unregulated ‘skill’ machines according to AGA estimates, at an annual cost of $8.7 billion in state taxes and $27 billion in legal gaming revenue.
  • In 2022, the legal gaming industry generated a record $13.49 billion in direct gaming tax revenue paid to state and local governments, not including billions more paid in income, sales and other taxes.
  • Policymakers, regulators, consumers and gaming industry stakeholders and allies can find resources to join the fight against illegal gambling at StopIllegalGambling .org.


Kantar, on behalf of the AGA, conducted an online survey from August 11 to 18, 2023, among a nationally representative sample of 2,002 American voters aged 21 and over. The margin of error is +/- 2% and greater among subgroups.



National Skill Game Leader Pace-O-Matic Congratulates United States Casino Industry and American Gaming Association on Best July Ever





Pace-O-Matic, the industry leader in legal skill games, would like to congratulate the United States casino industry and the American Gaming Association (AGA) on reporting their best July in history.

According to the AGA, the national trade association for the gambling industry, commercial casinos made nearly $5.4 billion in July of this year, up nearly 6% from last year. They AGA also reported that the casino industry will surely have its best year yet in 2023, having made nearly $38 billion since the beginning of the year. That’s an 11% increase over 2022.

Curiously, the casino industry reports record profits month after month while simultaneously touting legal skill games as a hindrance to their revenue. The casinos and AGA have waged a full-scale attack on the skill game industry in several states. Those states include Pennsylvania and Virginia where the AGA notably reported that casinos in those markets helped hit a new monthly record for in-person gambling.

“We may sound like a broken record when we continue to send our congratulatory notes to the casino industry but that’s because they continue to report record profits over and over again,” the Chief Public Affairs Officer for Pace-O-Matic, Mike Barley, said. “We will continue to point out their hypocrisy as long as they continue to attack legal skill games, which are supporting small businesses and fraternal organizations in many states.”


Skill games provide critical revenue to restaurants, bars, taverns, VFW halls and American Legion posts throughout the country. They help struggling mom-and-pop shops afford things like bills, updates and wages in a tough economy. The skill game industry has routinely asked to be regulated in markets and has faced opposition from the casino industry every time.

“We take no issue with the casinos and the evidence shows that we can coexist with them in a regulated market,” said Barley. “But it seems that the casino industry will rest at nothing until they stamp out any perceived competition. Studies have shown that skill games have no impact on casinos and their own financial reports back that up.”

Pace-O-Matic is the leading developer of legally compliant skill games in the United States, creating and marketing fun and exciting games for small businesses and fraternal and social clubs. With games in several markets across the nation, customers enjoy using their skill and patience to win.

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AGA Kicks Off Responsible Gaming Education Month, Celebrating 25th Anniversary of Industry’s Commitment



aga-kicks-off-responsible-gaming-education-month,-celebrating-25th anniversary-of-industry’s-commitment


Responsible gaming awareness remains high as legal industry expands

The American Gaming Association (AGA) commenced Responsible Gaming Education Month (RGEM) 2023 today with new consumer survey data showing the strength of responsible gaming awareness.

As legal gaming expands, consumers continue to report high levels of responsible gaming engagement with 84 percent of past-year gamblers aware of at least one responsible gaming resource, including 91 percent of sports bettors.

Past-year gamblers also report high confidence in the effectiveness of responsible gaming tools, policies and initiatives. Three-quarters or more of players consider the following measures effective ways to encourage responsible play:

  • Deposit limits (85%)
  • Time limits (78%)
  • Wager limits (77%)
  • Employee training (77%)
  • Industry code of conduct (75%)

“Our industry’s success is based on earning customer trust, providing safeguards for responsible gaming and implementing tools that our customers engage to bet responsibly,” the Responsibility Vice-President for the AGA, Cait DeBaun, said. “Today’s data shows our united effort to elevate responsible gaming is clearly resonating with players and shaping a safer gaming landscape.”

Importantly, as legal sports betting grows in new and existing markets, the survey underscores the value of advertising in driving responsible gaming awareness. More than half (53%) of sports bettors report seeing an increase in responsible gaming messaging over the past year.

Marking the industry’s 25th annual celebration of responsible gaming in September, RGEM 2023 will feature four weekly themes that the industry will activate on:

  • Empowering customers to play responsibly | September 1 to 10
  • Legal, regulated gaming protects players | September 11 to 17
  • Building a responsible gaming culture within | September 18 to 24
  • Advancing responsible gaming with research | September 25 to 30

“This month provides a focused opportunity for the gaming community to come together to highlight and advance our efforts,” said DeBaun. “We look forward to joining with our members, regulators, leagues, media and all stakeholders to uphold our collective responsibility for responsibility.”

Find full RGEM details and resources to participate including a toolkit for turnkey activation here.


  • Beyond regulatory commitments, AGA members agree to abide by the Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct and Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering; voluntary commitments that set a high standard to protect players.
  • AGA’s Have a Game Plan, Bet Responsibly campaign will also feature prominently during RGEM 2023, bringing together leagues, teams, operators and other sports betting stakeholders to educate consumers on responsible wagering.
  • 34 states and the District of Columbia feature operational commercial gaming markets including casino gaming (27), sports betting (30) and iGaming (7).


YouGov, on behalf of the AGA, conducted an online survey from August 3 to 10, 2023, among a nationally representative sample of 2,018 Americans aged 21 and over. The margin of error is +/- 2 percent and greater among subgroups.

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Commercial Gaming Revenue Surpasses $16 Billion in Q2 2023 with Tenth Consecutive Quarter of Growth





Industry generates more than $7 billion in gaming tax revenue through H1 2023

United States commercial gaming continued its long run of consecutive quarterly revenue growth in the second quarter, hitting a Q2 record of $16.07 billion, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. The total outpaced Q2 2022 by 8.1 percent and marked the tenth consecutive quarter of annual growth for the commercial gaming industry.

Q2 2023 is the second-highest grossing quarter in industry history, topped only by Q1 2023, making H1 2023 the commercial gaming industry’s strongest half ever. The $32.71 billion in commercial gaming revenue generated in the first six months of 2023 tracks 11.9 percent ahead of the same period last year.

The industry’s strong performance has resulted in an estimated $7.28 billion in direct gaming tax revenue for state and local governments through the first six months of the year. Pacing 12.9 percent ahead of last year, 2023 is on pace to generate more gaming tax revenue than any previous year.


“While commercial gaming is on track for an unprecedented third consecutive year of record revenue, the lasting impact we’re making on our communities through this record growth is even more impressive,” the President and Chief Executive Officer of the AGA, Bill Miller, said.

While land-based gaming continues to account for more than three-quarters of total commercial revenue, the industry’s year-over-year growth is being driven by the online sports betting and iGaming sectors.

Q2 revenue from land-based slots, table games and retail sports betting totaled $12.38 billion, a slight increase (+0.9%) compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, revenue from online gaming rose 43.1 percent year-over-year in Q2 to $3.68 billion, in part driven by the introduction of mobile sports betting in Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts and Ohio within the past year.

Combined online and land-based sports betting revenue totaled $2.3 billion in Q2 2023, an industry record for any second quarter and a 56.6 percent year-over-year increase. Meanwhile, online casino gaming tied Q1 for its highest-grossing quarter ever, generating $1.48 billion in revenue, up 22.5 percent over Q2 2022.

Across the country, 23 of 34 commercial gaming jurisdictions that were operational one year ago saw increased Q2 revenue from 2022.


“These results are a clear indication that our post-pandemic recovery wasn’t a fluke; the gaming sector continues to thrive, and when we do well, our communities do well,” said Miller. “To sustain this momentum, the AGA will continue enlisting more allies in our fight against the illegal market, bolstering responsible gaming and building a business environment that allows our innovative industry to bring world-class entertainment to adults across America.”


  • AGA’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker provides state-by-state and cumulative insight into the United States commercial gaming industry’s financial performance based on state revenue reports. This issue highlights Q2 2023 results.
  • 34 states and the District of Columbia featured operational commercial gaming markets in Q2 2023, including casino gaming, sports betting and iGaming.
  • AGA’s State of Play Map charts gaming’s economic impact, industry regulations and casino locations on a state-by-state basis for both the commercial and tribal gaming sectors.
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