HARRISBURG – The Senate Local Government Committee approved a bill today that would give a number of municipalities in Pennsylvania the option to prohibit video gaming terminals (VGTs) at truck stops within its borders.
Senate Bill 321, sponsored by Senators Scott Martin (R-13) and Ryan Aument (R-36), would give municipalities in Third Class counties the option to decline VGTs at truck stops by passing a simple resolution.
The need for the legislation stemmed from passage of Act 42 of 2017, which allowed for the creation of 10 new mini-casinos, additional online gambling options, and VGTs in truck stops.
The law gave each municipality the power to opt-out of allowing a new gambling venue to be built there, but municipalities were not given the same opportunity to opt-out of VGTs. More than 1,000 municipalities across the Commonwealth adopted resolutions to opt-out of having a new casino constructed within its borders.
Two municipalities in Lancaster County are involved in lawsuits stemming from VGTs.
“Municipalities should be able to make the final decision whether gambling should be permitted in their local communities,” Aument said. “Every single municipality in Lancaster County made their position on gambling known by passing resolutions prohibiting a mini-casino from being located in our area. I believe that most or all of our local municipalities would opt-out of VGTs as well if they are given that option.”
“The decision whether or not to allow gambling in a municipality should be made locally, not mandated by lawmakers in Harrisburg,” Martin said. “The availability of gambling is something that can affect the culture and the character of a community. Members of that community should have the power to make that decision for themselves.”
The bill was sent to the full Senate for consideration.