Lawmakers Push to Tax Violent Video Games in Pennsylvania

New Pennsylvania proposal calls for a 10 percent tax on violent video game sales

What to Know

  • A bill proposed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives calls for a tax on violent video game sales.
  • The 10 percent tax would go into a school safety fund.
  • "This bill does not prohibit violent video games, instead it simply provides a revenue stream," bill sponsor Rep. Chris Quinn says.

A trio of Pennsylvania lawmakers want to tax violent video games in hopes of funding school safety measures.

Republican Rep. Chris Quinn of Delaware County joined Democratic Philadelphia Rep. Ed Neilson and Democratic York County Rep. Carol Hill-Evans in sponsoring House Bill No. 109 that proposes a “Video Game Tax.” 

The bill calls for a 10 percent tax on any games rated "Mature 17+" or "Adults Only 18+" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

The bill calls for the establishment of a Digital Protection for School Safety Account in the General Fund that would enhance school safety measures around Pennsylvania.

Quinn told NBC10 this is not about censorship but rather about finding a new revenue stream. He did however note that "many have concluded that violent video games are a risk factor for potential violence."

"This bill does not prohibit violent video games, instead it simply provides a revenue stream — it tries to recoup some of the societal costs — to help make our schools safer by taxing an industry that has been shown to lead to violence," he said.

The tax would be in addition to any state or municipal taxes, and it would be up to the video game retailer to collect the tax.

The bill was referred to the Finance Committee in late January. It is unknown if the new bill will make its way to the General Assembly.

Quinn proposed similar violent game taxation legislation last session with no success. 

Games with the Mature rating are intended for people 17 years or older and "may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language," the ESRB says. Adults Only games "may include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency."

NBC10 reached out to Neilson's office for comment but he has not responded to that request.

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