Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Powerful gambling interests war over skill games

Plus, Penn State trustees want 'Paterno Field.'

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

Friday, February 16, 2024
Today: Budget proposal, Paterno honor, cybersecurity investigation, student loans, candidate controversy, and policy changes. This is PA Post.

Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro called for regulating and taxing skill games in his latest budget address, a proposal he says would raise tens of millions of dollars in revenue, but one that also places him at the center of a years-old battle for dominance of the gambling industry here.

The playing field involves three major interests—casinos, the video gaming terminal industry, and the makers of untaxed and unregulated skill games.

Pace-O-Matic said it welcomes regulation as long as skills games, like the ones it produces, are not overseen by the state's Gaming Control Board, as Shapiro proposed. Casinos and their lobbyists oppose the slot machine-like games, which they view as a direct threat to their earnings.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Shapiro didn't offer additional specifics on his plan but said: "Lawmakers, stop talking about this issue and start working on it and see what we can do to bring in more revenue for the commonwealth.”

Read Spotlight PA’s full report: Shapiro wants to tax skill games. He must first navigate Pa.’s wealthy, warring gambling interests


"The bigger picture is extremely concerning, I think, as we go into what will be an incredibly heated political season."

—Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on the case of Justin Mohn of Bucks County, who was charged this week with planning attacks on federal buildings after being charged with killing his father, a federal worker
Shop the Spotlight PA store for exclusive Pennsylvania gear and apparel.

ON SALE: Our Exclusive PA Tote Bag

Designed by a Pennsylvania artist just for Spotlight PA and printed by a local business.

Plus, get exclusive Spotlight PA apparel and accessories. SHOP NOW >

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: Join Spotlight PA next Thursday, Feb. 22, from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a free panel discussion on the status and history of the Whole-Home Repairs program, and how advocates want to see it improved. Register here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org


People skating at The UPMC Rink at PPG Place in Pittsburgh, via Spotlight PA's Tanisha Thomas. Have a photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

people skating on an ice rink
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.PATERNO FIELD: A group of Penn State trustees wants to rename Beaver Stadium's field after former coach Joe Paterno, Spotlight PA reports. Trustees and university representatives privately met twice in January to discuss the honor. The meetings potentially violate a state law requiring governing bodies to conduct business in public. The board fired Paterno amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal in 2011.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.UNDER ATTACK: Pennsylvania's state courts agency says it did not pay a ransom nor receive demands for one from cyberattackers that recently disrupted its online services, the AP reports. Washington County did, shelling out nearly $350,000 in cryptocurrency to a Russian hacker behind a recent attack on its government and courthouse systems. Some have raised related transparency concerns, per KDKA-TV.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.DEBT PAYMENTS: Since student loan payments resumed last October, many Pittsburgh residents are finding challenges in adjusting to their renewed financial responsibility. Some have picked up side gigs or cut back on spending to reduce their outstanding balances. PublicSource details some residents' concerns and struggles in grappling with their new reality. One said: “I don’t want to die with student debt.”

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.FALSE SIGNATURE: A Democratic state representative candidate is accused of faking a sitting lawmaker’s signature on nominating petitions submitted to qualify for the 2024 primary ballot. Lehigh Valley Live reports embattled Easton Councilwoman Taiba Sultana said her campaign did not knowingly submit a falsified signature for state Sen. Lisa Boscola (D., Northampton/Lehigh) on the forms. 

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.EXPANDED BENEFITS: Pennsylvania is expanding paid parental leave for state employees from six to eight weeks, Capital-Star reports. The policy was announced by Gov. Josh Shapiro's office on Thursday and is now in effect. Capital-Star adds: Pennsylvania does not have a paid family and medical leave law covering all employees here, but Democrats have pushed legislation to change that.
🤔 PA NEWS QUIZ: Think you know what's happening in Pennsylvania? Prove it with the latest Great PA News Quiz: 2024 ballots, flawed election claims, 'spring' snow, and Shapiro's debt eraser.

PA MADE: What's the coolest thing made in Pennsylvania? The PA Chamber wants your nominations for this year’s “Coolest Things” competition. The deadline is today. Take a look at last year’s crop for inspiration.  

MORE SNOW: Punxsutawney Phil’s early spring is taking a backseat with another winter storm expected this weekend. Western, south-central, and eastern Pennsylvania could see up to three inches of snow.

DINO DISCOVERY: A Harrisburg University professor helped discover a new dinosaur species, a close relative of the T. rex, WITF reports. The find has scientists rethinking how and where the T. rex evolved. 

‘BIRD TOWN’: Media Borough became an official “Bird Town” this month, WHYY reports. The borough, which was already a Bee City and a Tree City, wants residents to "think differently about their winged neighbors."

FISH FRY-DAYS: Lent started this week, meaning the highly anticipated fish fry Fridays are back. Belt Magazine, in a 2022 piece, explains the origins of the Catholic tradition and how Pittsburgh became a “City of Cod.” 

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Emblematic

Congrats to our daily winners: Kimberly D., Don H., Jon W., Bob C., Susan N., Daniel M., Jane R., Alan B., Vicki U., Kevin M., Ted W., Beth T., Stacy S., Marty M., Rich A., Daniel S., Dan A., Janet S., Lynne E., Kim C., Barbara F., Elaine C., Tina H., Craig E., Tom M., Amelia M., Stanley J., Jacqueline H., Wendy A., Frederick H., David W., William Z., Doris U., Leslie B., and Karen W.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

For sponsorship inquiries, email membership@spotlightpa.org.

Copyright © Spotlight PA, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.