In late 2017, the state of Pennsylvania approved a gaming package that would see several changes within the local gaming industry. One such change was the addition of video gaming terminals, or VGTs, to truck stops across the state. It took some time, but by last year, the installation of such games began. By the end of the year, a total of twenty truck stops offer 100 terminals and have generated over $1.2 million taxes already.
Fifteen of the VGT locations are operated by Marquee of Penn LLC. The Commonwealth Gaming LLC is the operator of the remaining five locations. Each site is home to five machines. Five more locations have been approved for licensing but have not started offering services. There are 29 more locations that have conditional approval.
The first location to offer VGTs opened in mid-August of last year. Since that time, the machine locations have grown and are creating a nice amount of revenues for the state. The machines are similar to a slot but have their own distinction.
The games offer a max of $5 per spin and the highest possible single payout is $1,000. Many of the VGT locations are in rural areas. However, Lancaster County has a complete ban on the games. Visitors to this region of the state will not find the machines on offer.
The truck stops were able to take in $24.4 million in wagers, in less than five months of operations. This produced a profit of $2.3 million. York County is home to the majority of the VGT locations with six. Two are location in Clinton and Venago Counties. Ten more counties have one location each.
The plus side of the VGTs for the state are the new tax revenues generated. The state collects 52% of gross VGT revenue by way of taxes. This includes a 42% amount that is deposited into the General Fund of the state. The remaining 10% is used by the Commonwealth Finance Agency for grants.
The VGTs are a small but quality advancement of the gaming industry in the state. While the option is offered in rural areas away from casinos, it has produced solid revenue numbers. As the number of VGT locations grows and more machines are in operation, the total number of taxes earned by the state will only continue to grow.
If $2.3 million can be generated in just a few months, it is expected that the number will double or be even higher with more games on offer and a longer operational period. Once the group with conditional approval are fully operational, the number of bets placed, and revenues generated is expected to skyrocket.
Combine the VGT earnings with that of sports betting and online gaming, not to mention the land-based casino industry, then Pennsylvania is truly undergoing a gaming boom. We shall keep an eye out on the VGT industry and report as new revenue details are released over the coming months.