Even though since the Keystone State’s gaming expansion plans were signed into law back in 2017 the major focus has been on sports betting, online gaming and mobile gaming, the state has been quietly advancing towards allowing gambling at over 40 truck stops as well as five mini-casinos. According to the gaming expansion plans, the state would allow truck stops that qualified to offer gaming services on up to five video gaming terminals (VGTs). However, these plans may be about to hit a bump thanks to recent proposals by certain lawmakers who want to “weigh in on the matter.”
As it stands, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has already awarded conditional licenses to 20 Rutter’s diesel center and recently, Scientific Games also got a license to offer truck stop gambling in the state. In order to qualify to include the video game terminals, the truck stops were required by state law to sell in excess of 50,000 gallons of diesel per month, have no less than 20 parking spaces for commercial vehicles, sell Pennsylvania Lottery’s tickets, feature well-stocked convenience store and be located on properties measuring no less than three acres.
Not everyone is on board with the whole video game terminal gambling situation – in the Harrisburg capital, for instance, there is increasing opposition arising from lawmakers who believe that the counties should be allowed to opt out of hosting video gaming terminals at their truck stops.
“Our local governments, our citizens have been upset that all of these applications for video gaming terminals are popping up,” State Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster), one of the lawmakers, commented.
Known for its Amish populations and tourism draws, Lancaster County has not been very welcoming to the state’s gaming expansion initiatives. All of the county’s 60 municipalities chose to opt of being considered for the Category 4 mini casinos but they have not been able to do the same for the VGTs since the state gaming regulator only gave the counties that already host land-based casinos the right to opt out of the truck stop gambling plans. Consequently, Senator Martin along with five other senators have introduced a bill that calls for local governments to be given “90 days to pass ordinances barring VGTs from their towns.”
In essence, the senators expect the gaming control board to give the municipalities some time to decide on whether to prohibit or allow the establishment of a casino before it approves any application and awards a VGT license. This will obviously slow down the process of rolling out VGTs across the state but it goes without saying that it is indeed a very reasonable demand.