|Posted:||May 22, 2018 04:15 PM|
|From:||Representative Stephen Barrar and Rep. Chris Sainato|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Video Game Terminals (VGT's) for Club Licensees|
|In the very near future, we intend to introduce legislation that aims to legalize operator-based video gaming terminals in Pennsylvania fraternal clubs, including clubs associated with volunteer fire departments and veterans service organizations.
We wish to give you notice of this legislation, and its intent, so that you can fully consider the opportunity for business growth, consumer protections and increased sustained revenue for the Commonwealth as well as our local governments and veterans’ organizations.
To provide a real point of reference, this same operator-based model was successfully implemented in Illinois in 2012. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, video gaming terminals generated over a billion dollars in revenue and hundreds of millions in tax dollars. While the number of eligible locations would be reduced from the Illinois case study, our research anticipates that under this proposal, local volunteer fire departments and veterans’ organizations would be able to directly benefit from an industry that exists today without legal authority or vital consumer protections.
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 for those entities operating unregulated and unlicensed machines. 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. Legalizing operator-based video gaming terminals will bring oversight and accountability into an industry that is much needed.
Please join us in legalizing operator-based video gaming terminals in Pennsylvania clubs. This program will be good for businesses, create family-sustaining jobs and provide crucial funding for our volunteer emergency services and veterans across the Commonwealth. By supporting this legislation, you are supporting our volunteer emergency services and our veterans, their programs, and their continued good works throughout our communities.
Introduced as HB2478