Republican Party member Seth Grove, who is vouching for York in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, is about to propose a bill that will allow more truck stops to receive video gaming licenses.
Grove’s Bill Proposal
During the delayed negotiations on the budget, which were supposed to be over on June 30, York representative Seth Grove announced he is going to make a bill proposition, which will scrap the requirement for selling a minimum of 50,000 diesel gallons monthly in order to acquire a video gaming license. Grove wrote a memorandum in order to win over sponsors to his proposal. In it he argued:
Simply, linking a licensee to a commodity makes no sense. Think of it this way, would the commonwealth link a tavern license to how many wings a tavern sells per month?
Seth Grove, York representative
Grove’s bill proposal has been criticized by representatives of the Pennsylvanians Against Gaming Expansion, who are vouching for all of the casino owners in the state of Pennsylvania. A spokesperson for the group, Peter Shelly, accused Grove of muddying up the budget negotiations at a critical moment by introducing this new bill. Shelley also expressed his concern that there is no estimation of how many new licenses will be issued in case the average monthly fuel sale requirement is dropped. The Pennsylvanians Against Gaming Expansion represents casino operators who in 2021 were responsible for a revenue of $4.7 billion and have paid taxes amounting to $1.9 billion.
It has also been highlighted that Grove’s bill will benefit only smaller businesses that sell fuel, with the Rutter’s chain, which is based in York County and is already running 18 video gaming terminals, as the main benefactor.
Monthly Tax Revenue from Video Gaming Terminals
In Pennsylvania there are currently 65 video gaming terminal sites, as per information from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. During the fiscal year spanning over 2021 and 2022, those venues have reported revenues of about $3.46 million per month, which have brought about $1.45 million monthly into the Pennsylvanian state coffers.
Pace-O-Matic communications director Mike Barley has raised awareness that there are two other bill proposals, submitted by Rep. James Wheeland and Sen. Gene Yaw, regarding the regulation and taxation of skills games and, consequently, Grove’s proposal should be considered together with them. The proposals want to include games such as “Amigos Locos” and “Lady Periwinkle” in a system for tax collection and control in order for the Pennsylvanian state to be better equipped to monitor and receive taxes from these activities. Skills games are similar to slot machines with the difference that in order to win money, the player has to use a particular skill.