Legislator Opposes Law Restricting Truck Stops From Hosting Gaming Terminals
The installation of video gaming terminals at truck stops has been one of the more understated aspects of Pennsylvania’s extensive legalized gambling development since 2017, yet, the prospect of expanding such sites was the subject of a recent congressional hearing.
HB 2743, a bill proposed in July by Republican Rep. Seth Grove of York County to remove one of the requirements limiting which facilities can acquire a VGT license, was the subject of a hearing before the House Gaming Oversight Committee on September 21.
Grove’s proposal would do away with the requirement that truck stops with five VGT machines, which function like slot machines in a casino, must sell at least 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel each month on average. Suppliers of VGT and owners of truck stops like the Rutter’s chain, which has 78 locations across the state and is headquartered in Grove’s legislative district, favor the measure.
Grove stated that it is against reason and accepted public policy to tie licensing requirements to the volume of sales of a particular commodity, such as diesel fuel, in a document distributed to colleagues when he submitted the measure. Additionally, he emphasized how truck stop businesses have been harmed by increasing gas costs, which can lower sales, in a testimony from September 21 that is available online.
Grove claimed that many of these restaurants actually worry that they won’t meet the standard and won’t be able to keep their licenses.
Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Kevin O’Toole provided testimony during the hearing on factual issues without endorsing or opposing Grove’s plan since the regulatory body defers lawmakers in determining public policy.
Since the first VGT facility opened in 2019, the state’s five-machine count has progressively increased to 66, according to O’Toole, this has led to a total income of roughly $80 million. Of that, he said that $8 million had been sent to local governments and around $33.5 million to state taxes.