In many states within the US, there are additional gambling options found outside of casinos. The most typical option is a video gaming terminal or VGT. The terminals are played similarly to slot games and can provide revenue to the state as well as the operator. In Indiana, bar and tavern owners, as well as non-profits, want to offer VGTs to bring in revenues. Over 900 business owners and organization operators have signed a petition to see VGTs approved in the state.
We Want VGTs
Groups like the VFW as well as American Legions are among those who want to be able to provide VGT gaming. The petition requests that the Indiana General Assembly supports legislation to legalize VGTs within their establishments.
The Indiana Licensed Beverage Association is working with a coalition across the state to seek the legal change. The VGTs would provide a new source of revenue for the state. They would also be additional revenues for businesses that are currently struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past few years, gambling has expanded in Indiana, but the businesses involved in this request have not been privy to the changes. ILBA president Brad Klopfenstein commented on the VGT request stating that the small businesses of the state are important to towns and neighborhoods. The businesses create jobs as well as pay taxes.
Such businesses have watched as the gaming industry turned into a multi-billion-dollar business and they are struggling to keep their doors open. Without the change to legalize VGTs, many of these smaller businesses may be forced to shut down permanently.
How VGTs Would Help
As part of the effort, a website was created to provide information on VGTs. Legalization of the option would provide new jobs in the state, plus protect small businesses from closure. It is expected that if the games were allowed, over $100 million would be generated within the first year of operation.
Several organizations are behind the push for VGTs alongside the ILBA. This includes Indiana Bowling Centers Association, Indiana Amusement & Music Operators Association, and the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association.
It is believed that as many as 32,000 jobs or even more could be created from the new industry. According to Klopfenstein the addition of VGTs would help local businesses that have suffered greatly due to the pandemic. The process could be done at no cost to the state. The businesses are not asking for a handout but permission to add these machines to their service options.
VGTs were legalized in Pennsylvania back in 2017 and eventually launched after the licensing process was completed. The machines have helped to bring in more revenues for the state, however, they are restricted to truck stops.
For Indiana, the games would be installed at bars and taverns as well as non-profit organizations like the VFW and American Legion. With enough oversight and planning, Indiana could benefit from these gaming options just as Pennsylvania has been able to do. As this is the end of 2020, no effort will be made by lawmakers until 2021. It will be interesting to see if they decide to push for VGT legalization or simply ignore the request.