A recent bill introduced in the Keystone Stone state seeks to give counties in the state the power to opt out of offering video gaming terminals (VGTs) at the truck stops within their jurisdictions. From the looks of it, the bill might actually make become a law as it has recently even advanced through a Senate committee.
Introduced by Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster Country) at the beginning of the year, Senate Bill 87 will allow the counties to choose whether or not they want to have the video gaming terminals within their jurisdictions – this has been one of the more controversial aspects of the state’s gambling industry since the gambling expansion bill was passed by Governor Tom Wolf back in October 2017. The Pennsylvania Senate Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee backed SB 87 this week and we should expect a Senate vote to come as early as next month.
As it turns out, while the state’s massive gambling expansion package that authorized satellite casinos, online gambling, sports betting, airport gaming lounges, and gambling terminals at truck stops gave the counties the liberty to opt of the mini-casinos if they wished to do so, it did not offer them the same options when it came to truck stop gambling.
More of Truck Stop Gambling in Pennsylvania
Video gaming terminals (VGTs) are very similar to slot machines – the state’s laws define the devices as terminals that are “available to play or operate one or more gambling games, the play of which utilizes a random number generator”. They usually have a maximum payout of $1,000.
Over the last several months, truck stops across the state have been submitting plans and proposals to alter their gaming facilities in a bid to meet the requirements set by the state with regards to the places that are meant to host the devices. Some of the requirements that the truck stop locations include:
- The must sell no less than 50,000 gallons of fuel each and every month.
- They must have at least 20 parking spaces for commercial vehicles.
- Each of them must be a Pennsylvania Lottery retailer.
- They must be located on properties measuring no less than three acres.
Once approved, each of these locations will be given the green light to host up to five video game terminals.
About a month ago, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the first batch of licenses. These five licenses are spread throughout Central and Western Pennsylvania with more expected to join in soon.