Video gaming terminals, usually called simply VGTs, are filling in the gambling void between Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos, with locations in every quadrant of the state. By design, they are not too close to casinos.
A new operator, Second State, just entered the PA market in the past week, with three locations in Southeast PA and a fourth location in the Northeast.
“We’re thrilled to be able to provide truck stop owners in Pennsylvania with new state-approved gaming options,” said Jennifer Caruso, vice president of operations for Second State Gaming.
“VGTs will allow these Love’s locations to expand their offerings, grow their foot traffic and increase revenues. We look forward to serving gaming patrons and helping these locations succeed.”
Four new VGT locations from Second State
The locations, all at Love’s Travel Stops, are:
- 1165 Harrisburg Pike, Carlisle, Cumberland County
- 3700 Mountain Road, Hamburg, Berks County
- 22 Old Forge Road, Jonestown, Lebanon County
- 440 W. 3rd St., Mifflinville, Columbia County
Each spot has five machines, the maximum allowed for the slot-like devices.
Pennsylvania VGT location listings in PA
Throughout the state, there are now 34 locations, each with five devices, for a total of 170 machines.
VGTs accept only cash. By law, the maximum bet allowed on a VGT is $5. The maximum payout is $1,000. Only authorized diesel truck stops host the machines.
Since the first VGTs launched in PA in September 2019, the machines have brought in more than $3.5 million in tax revenue for the state (through June). That was with zero revenue during April and May when all the machines were off-limits due to virus precaution mandates.
VGTs bounced back in a big way in June, though, posting their third-best revenue month. The state received $560,261 from VGT taxes in June, which was bested by January ($579,914) and February ($697,806).
PlayPennsylvania has a complete list of VGT locations, organized by quadrants of PA.
Approval for Second State VGTs took two years
Bill Bork, a locations relations manager for Second State, said his company began the approval process two years ago and only just got the go-ahead to open from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
The machines required licensing, inspection and testing, as well as following coronavirus health and safety guidelines. The pandemic shuttered all previously approved machines until just recently.
The new Second State locations have plexiglass dividers, social distancing markers and hand sanitizer, and they require the wearing of masks, Bork said. There is video surveillance of the VGT rooms.
About half of VGT customers are local
VGTs have split customer appeal, according to Bork.
By design, VGTs provide roadside entertainment for truckers. By law, drivers must spend eight hours off the road every day.
But about half of those who play VGTs are local residents, living fewer than 10 miles away. They choose VGTs over driving to more distant brick-and-mortar casinos, Bork said surveys have shown.
He is looking for more locations in PA for Second State as VGT expansion continues in the commonwealth.