Some Strasburg Borough officials have raised their voices against gambling at local convenience stores which has spread a lot after expanded gambling options got legal under a piece of legislation which was passed late in 2017.
According to some officials, the addition of the gambling machines to the local convenience stores is an action with effects that can hardly be foreseen.
Chief F. Steven Echternach from the Strasburg Borough Police Department shared that according to him, the more gambling options there are for people across the commonwealth, the more opportunities for criminal activity are created. He further noted that such an expanded number of activities does not necessarily have a positive effect on the community, Mr. Echternach said.
Lately, video gaming terminals (VGTs), which are more widely known simply as slot machines, have become increasingly popular among local residents. For the time being, there are 61 truck stops in Strasburg which are looking to install the machines and offer gambling to their customers.
The rising popularity of this type of gambling and the increasing number of truck stops and convenience stores willing to install VGTs has prompted mixed reactions from local residents and officials. The opinions are divided, as some people do not believe that the addition of the terminals could actually hurt anyone, but others shared concerns that people suffering from gambling addiction would be seriously affected by the new machines.
Rutter’s Truck Stop Applies for Borough Ordinance Exception
Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board has revealed that five truck stops situated in Lancaster County have filed applications for the new form of gambling which is expected to be officially brought to action early in 2019.
One of these truck stops – the Rutter’s – has drawn the local officials’ anger, with them raising an argument against the measure, saying that it could boost illegal activity in the borough. Recently, the Rutter’s truck stop has applied to add VGTs at 20 of its convenience stores, including the ones in Strasburg, Leola and West Hempfield Township. The three locations in Lancaster County could host up to five slot-like machines each.
The Gambling Control Board’s communications director, Doug Harbach, revealed to a local media that a total of 23 establishments have been approved so far, with each of the properties being reviewed before getting the nod for the addition of the VGTs. As Mr. Harbach explained, no Rutter’s locations have been approved so far, but for the time being, local municipalities are not able to actually stop them from moving forward in the approval process.
Rutter’s is seeking to expand its convenience store situated at 405 Historic Drive in Strasburg by adding space of 444 square feet to the location without making more parking spaces. The operator has also made a request for a special exception to a borough ordinance, under which it would be able to install five slot-like machines at the convenience store in question.