Pennsylvania casino representatives urge state lawmakers to limit VGTs & ban illegal skill gaming

Pennsylvania casino representatives urge state lawmakers to limit VGTs & ban illegal skill gaming

Pennsylvania casino industry’s survival will be in question if bars and restaurants are allowed to offer video gaming terminals (VGTs), casino representatives said in a testimony before the House Gaming Oversight Committee.

VGTs are slot-like gaming machines that are allowed in certain placed like truck stops. Now, there are plans to allow these gaming machines to flow into bars and restaurants but the casino industry is seeing any such move as a potential impediment in the casino industry’s revival in wake of the industry’s COVID-19 pandemic-induced months-long shutdown and the ongoing restrictions.

Earlier this week, a number of casino executives appeared before Pennsylvania’s House Gaming Oversight Committee, and voiced their concerns regarding further expansion of VGTs and unregulated skill gaming machines. They stressed that the year of 2020 was a tremendously difficult period for the gaming industry and that its expected recovery would be hurt if these slot-like gaming machines are allowed to flow into bars and restaurants.

Anthony Carlucci, the president Mohegan Sun Pocono, told the committee that Pennsylvania’s struggling licensed casino gaming industry could return to its pre-pandemic levels only if gaming expansion is rejected and illegal skill games are eradicated. He stressed the presence of illegal gaming machines on every street corner is hindering the licensed gaming industry’s recovery.

Sharing a similar sentiment, Penn National Gaming (PNG) said that VGTs should not be allowed to expand if the government really wants the licensed casino industry to recover from the adverse impact of the deadly pandemic.

Daniel Ihm, vice president & general manager of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, said, “Penn National respectfully requests that this committee firmly reject any effort to authorize distributed gaming in any of its forms, specifically either VGT expansion or skill games legalization.”

Attorney Adrian King, who is representing the state gaming industry, said any expansion in VGTs or allowing these slot-like gaming machines to flow into businesses other than certain diesel truck stops would have a very detrimental consequence, almost as much as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania’s licensed casino industry is foreseeing unregulated VGTs as the biggest threat to its recovery as the slot-like gaming machines continue to pop up not only in bars and restaurants but also in grocery stores, strip malls, and even convenience markets across the state.