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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 8, 2017 03:02 PM
From: Representative Mark Mustio and Rep. P. Michael Sturla
To: All House members
Subject: Legalization of Operator-Based Video Gaming Terminals

In the very near future, we intend to introduce legislation that aims to legalize operator-based video gaming terminals in Pennsylvania locations with a liquor license including bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels and VFW’s. The legislation will include truck stops and bowling centers too. We wish to give you advance notice of this legislation, and its intent, so that you can fully consider the opportunity for business growth, added jobs and increased sustained revenue for the Commonwealth and local governments that would be the result of such legislation.

To provide a real point of reference, this same operator-based model was successfully implemented in Illinois in 2012. In 2016, VGT’s generated over $1 billion in total revenue, $336 Million for Illinois - without the participation of the city of Chicago. Our model anticipates that all of Pennsylvania will participate and should generate over $1 billion in total revenue which would then mean hundreds of millions of new revenue dollars to the Commonwealth and local share, once fully implemented.

It is important to note that video gaming is already taking place illegally in the Commonwealth. State Police estimate, in their testimony, that they believe 40,000 thousand illegal machines are already in operation in Pennsylvania. This bill will provide an amnesty period to eliminate those 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. 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 (5) terminals which 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.

Finally, this legislation takes into careful consideration the issue of problem gambling. It will provide an additional $2 million annually to support gambling addiction programs. Legalizing operator-based video gaming terminals will bring oversight and accountability where it currently does not exist.

Please join us in legalizing operator-based video gaming terminals in Pennsylvania, thereby growing businesses, creating jobs and increasing revenue for Pennsylvania. By supporting this legislation, you are supporting small businesses, the community and the Commonwealth!

Introduced as HB1010