Top Pennsylvania gaming regulators met with industry lobbyists before coming out against a casino competitor

Top Pennsylvania gaming regulators met with industry lobbyists before coming out against a casino competitor

Article brief provided by Spotlight PA
  • Angela Couloumbis, Spotlight PA
February 16, 2023 8:51 PM

On a mid-January morning in 2020, the state’s top gambling regulators privately gathered inside a conference room at their downtown Harrisburg offices with lobbyists for Parx Casino, the largest in the state.

The lobbyists had worked for weeks to land the meeting with the two highest-ranking members of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board: Executive Director Kevin O’Toole and then-Chief Counsel Doug Sherman.

The representatives of the Bucks County casino had been frustrated by the board’s hands-off position toward one of its fiercest business competitors — unregulated slots-like machines called skill games — and wanted that to change.

Parx got its wish: Within weeks, the board shed its neutral stance and aligned with Parx and others in a court fight to declare skill games illegal.