|Posted:||March 17, 2017 12:00 PM|
|From:||Senator Guy Reschenthaler|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Legalization of Video Gaming Terminals|
|In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to permit and regulate the operation of video gaming terminals (VGTs) in Pennsylvania. This legislation is being introduced in the House by Representatives Mustio and Sturla.
Legalizing VGTs will benefit the Commonwealth by generating both business growth and job creation while increasing revenues for the Commonwealth and local governments.
This legislation will legalize VGTs in Pennsylvania locations with a liquor license including bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels and VFW’s, as well as truck stops.
Video gaming is already occurring in the Commonwealth, with the State Police estimating that 40,000 illegal machines are already in operation in Pennsylvania. This legislation will provide an amnesty period to eliminate these untaxed and unregulated machines, then make it a per se felony offense to be in possession or use of a machine not tied into the PA Gaming Control Board.
Legalizing VGTs will bring oversight and accountability to the industry. The new, legal machines will be owned, operated, and maintained by Pennsylvania companies. Each licensed establishment will be permitted to have a maximum of five terminals that would be wired to a central computer system monitored by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to assure absolute accountability. The bill also requires that any licensee, whether that is a manufacturer, distributor, supplier, or terminal operator, be subject to rigorous background checks. This legislation also addresses problem gambling by supporting gambling addiction programs with an additional $2 million annually.
In 2012, similar legislation was successfully implemented in Illinois with Chicago choosing to opt out. Even with the absence of this great revenue source, Illinois has generated over $1 billion in total revenue in 2016 and $336 million in state tax revenue.
With all of Pennsylvania participating, conservative estimates project that over $1 billion in total revenue will be generated. This will mean hundreds of millions of new revenue dollars for the Commonwealth and a local share program in every county.
I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. Please contact my office with any questions at 717-787-5839.
Introduced as SB628