After legalizing video gaming terminals in 2017, among several other expansions to the gambling industry, Pennsylvania finally has a revenue report involving the new machines. The VGTs have been in operation since August and the Gaming Control Board has released a report involving the first six weeks of totals.
For the first six weeks of operations, the VGTs managed to bring in $324,710 in total adjusted revenue. The tax revenue for this time frame came in at $168,849. The rate of tax for these machines is set at 52%. The very first location launched VGTs in mid-August with numbers from the end of the month included in the report.
The report covered only seven locations and two operators. Each location had five machines, so in total, only 35 machines were reported on. Many more machines should be in operation in the coming weeks as the Board approves more venues for operations.
The Marquee by Penn VGT operator saw just over $2.2 million in machine bets during the six week time frame. Payouts came in at just over $2 million and gross revenues at $226,742.59. They have machines at four Rutter’s locations.
For the Commonwealth Gaming operator, the wagers were much higher at $1.1 million and payouts of $1 million. The gross revenues came in at just over $97,000. They have operations at Emlenton Truck Plaza, Bald Eagle Truck Stop and Snow Shoe Travel Plaza.
Getting to know the Machines
The VGTs are a gaming machine similar to a slot game. The terminals use a random generator for the outcome just like slots do. The game must provide a minimum of $0.85 of every dollar to players. Those who play at the machines can wager no more than $5. The top payout in a game only reaches $1,000.
For a truck stop to offer video gaming terminals, they must have diesel fuel islands that are used for commercial motor vehicles. They must average 50,000 gallons of fuel sales every month and have parking for at least 20 trucks. The property must include a convenience store and have three acres or more.
While lawmakers and most areas were open to the video gaming machines, one area was not. Lancaster County, which is known for the large population of Amish individuals, did not want to see the games in their region.
When the announcement of the VGT games was made, the county made quick work of fighting the installation of the machines. A law was created and eventually passed that allowed the county to be excluded. The religious group does not gamble and did not want to see the activity around their homes or families.
With the revenue reports only showcasing a few facilities, we expect the totals to be much higher in the coming months as more venues are approved. Right now, the games are the low earner, but they should move up in the ranks as more machines become operational.