Update: VGTs in Pennsylvania


The Pennsylvania Senate returned from its summer recess today, and proponents of a bill allowing video gaming terminals (VGTs) in bars and a variety of other locations are eagerly awaiting action. Lou Larson, VP of Gaming Relations at Universal Gaming Group, has expressed optimism. The keystone state’s House already passed an extensive gaming expansion in July legalizing VGTs, as well as regulating online gambling.


This attack ad from opponents of the gaming expansion and VGT bill shows how contentious the issue has become.

Proponents of the gaming expansion have a fight on their hands though. Earlier this summer, a million-dollar ad campaign demonizing VGTs and the gaming expansion came out of a group called Pennsylvanians For Responsible Government. The group was allegedly funded by Las Vegas Sands and billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

On Sept. 11, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted on a revenue package authorizing the state to take control of dormant monies sitting in accounts throughout the state. The vote, which passed along party lines, sent the fate of VGTs to the Senate, which needs the revenue package to meet a $2.2 billion spending budget passed in July.

“The Republican House leadership continues to tell the Senate and Governor that they will not vote on any revenue package that raises taxes and continues to support VGT’s and liquor privatization in place of any new taxes,” Larson said. “We are still very confident that gaming will be part of the final revenue package.”


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