Pennsylvania court will decide whether skill game terminals are gambling machines

Pennsylvania’s highest court will decide whether the cash-paying electronic game terminals that have become commonplace in convenience stores, bars and elsewhere are unlicensed gambling machines and, as a result, must be shut down.

The state Supreme Court said this week that it will consider an appeal by the attorney general’s office of a lower-court decision that found that what are often called skill games are based on a player’s ability — and not solely on chance, like slot machines and other traditional gambling games.

For years, the state has maintained that the devices are unlicensed gambling machines that are operating illegally and subject to seizure by police. Machine makers, distributors and retailers contend they are legal, if unregulated, games that are not subject to state gambling control laws.