The middle of the week finally saw the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) grant a video gambling license to the owner of the Rutter’s convenience store chain. Under the license, the chain would be able to install video gambling terminals (VGTs) at a store situated in Walker Township, Juniata County.
The store is to become the first location in the state of Pennsylvania which has been allowed to offer video gambling services to its customers. The owners of the Rutter’s convenience store chain, however, also have pending applications for 19 other stores across the central part of the state, some of which are situated in communities which preferred to exclude themselves from possible addition of new casinos a year ago.
As explained by the PGCB spokesman Doug Harbach, the Board gave its approval for the Walker Township-situated store because it was the first to have a completed review by the regulator. The other Rutter’s locations are still being reviewed. Mr. Harbach further noted that some of these locations might need to address some issues in order to get the board’s approval for video gambling.
For the time being, Rutter’s chain operates approximately 70 convenience stores on the territory of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. About one-third of them has been identified by the company as a chance for expansion on the Pennsylvania truck stop gambling sector. As the company has explained earlier, these stores have been among the newer ones of the chain, and have been designed to serve truck drivers across the state.
Rutter’s Application for 19 Other Locations Still Reviewed by PGCB
For Rutter’s, the addition of video gambling machines to some of its truck stop locations as a logical extension of the company’s collaboration with the Pennsylvania Lottery system for about five decades.
The provision of certain gambling options at truck stops across the state has emerged as one of the last compromises in the large gambling expansion which Pennsylvania’s legislature decided to approve in 2017. The move, being described by VGT suppliers as the last big expansion of legalized gambling in the state for years, was seen as a chance for such companies to get to licensed liquor establishments in Pennsylvania. There are currently about 15,000 private social clubs, bars and taverns across the state.
On the other hand, commercial casinos in the state are trying to offset the impact which such competition has on their established operations.
The applications for video gambling services filed by Rutter’s have drawn increased public scrutiny in Pennsylvania, especially considering the fact that it was the first of the large convenience store chains in the state to try entering the commercial gambling sector. However, the VGT applications filed by the convenience store chain have provoked negative reactions to such a gambling expansion in some municipalities, with two State Senators even unveiling a bill under which local communities would be given the right to block further expansion into the video gambling market.