Pace-O-Matic Compliance Officer Sees $400K Seized in IRS Probe

Posted on: January 10, 2024, 08:56h. 

Last updated on: January 10, 2024, 10:06h.

The former compliance officer for Georgia-based skill-games manufacturer Pace-O-Matic has landed himself in hot water, apparently for noncompliance with the Internal Revenue Service.

Pace-O-Matic, Pennsylvania, skill games, Rick Goodling, IRS
Pace-O-Matic’s skill games, above, are controversial, and so the news that its former compliance officer’s personal taxes are being probed by the feds is the kind of publicity the company could do without. (Image: Pace-O-Matic)

Rick Goodling, a former corporal with the Pennsylvania State Police, resigned as national director of compliance for the company just over a month ago. That’s after Pace-O-Matic officials became aware of a federal investigation into his personal taxes, a company spokesperson told The Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

In a notice of forfeiture posted online Sunday, the IRS’ Criminal Investigation unit said it had seized $443,052 from Goodling. This included $152,862 in cash. The rest was seized after the IRS froze his bank accounts.

“We have and will continue to cooperate fully with the IRS investigation and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement regarding this issue,” Pace-O-Matic spokesperson Mike Barley said in a statement to the Capital-Star.

Controversial Industry

Pace-O-Matic is the market leader in Pennsylvania’s controversial skill games sector. The company and other suppliers like it argue their games can’t be classified as slots or illegal gambling games because the element of skill predominates over luck. The machines employ skill-based features, such as bonus games that require players to memorize intricate patterns.

In December, a Pennsylvania court agreed that skill games don’t constitute illegal gambling, and therefore the Pennsylvania State Police had no legal right to confiscate the machines.

The state’s Attorney General Michelle Henry is appealing the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Delicate Balance

Remaining on the right side of “just about legal” is a delicate balance for Pace-O-Matic, and it was Goodling’s job “to weed out illegal gaming machines that should not be in the marketplace,” as he told a state Senate committee in 2019.

Goodling also said that his 27 years with the state police and 15 years leading its gambling unit had made him a recognized expert in the legality of gaming terminals.

Pace-O-Matic’s compliance team is composed largely of former state troopers and liquor enforcement officers, who encourage businesses to replace illegal games with skill games, Goodling testified.

The skill games industry is opposed by many lawmakers and the state’s casino industry. But Pace-O-Matic says the machines provide a vital revenue stream for small business owners. The company is behind a push to have the machines regulated and taxed, thus ensuring legitimacy for the industry.