Summary: Operator of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Penn National has announced plans to further their presence in Pennsylvania by operating video gaming terminals.
Since late 2017, Pennsylvania has seen a boom within their overall gambling industry as operators and partners begin to set up for various expansions within the industry. Online casino and poker gaming is set to begin this year, with operators setting up partnerships last year and gaining licensing in preparation. Penn National is a gaming operator in the state who is preparing to provide additional gaming options, including video gaming terminals. The company announced last week that they had partnered with Rutter’s convenience stores to get started.
As an operator of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Penn National had the ability to apply for video gaming terminal licensing, or VGTs for short. The company has announced a deal has been signed with Rutter’s, with the company set to provide five VGTs within 20 locations of Rutter’s convenience stores throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
VGTs were part of a gaming expansion package created in 2017 that was signed into law. Because so many new aspects of the gaming industry were approved, it has taken some time for gaming to get started. Now, it seems Penn National will be the first to get started and in a big way.
Senior Vice President of Regional Operations for Penn National, John Finamore, commented on the new deal, stating that the company is looking forward to working with Rutter’s to introduce VGT gaming to the state. Penn National is excited to be combining their expertise with the established success of Rutter’s convenience stores to offer the new gaming option via qualified locations.
VGTs were an issue when legislation was being considered back in 2017, as some casinos were opposed, afraid the machines would cut into their slot profits. However, in the end, the option was added to legislation and will begin this year.
To be able to offer VGTs, locations have to meet a certain set of criteria. The VGTs must be added to locations that meet certain standards. The property must sell 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel on average per month. The property must also have 20 parking spots minimum that are dedicated to commercial vehicles. The property must also be located on three acres of land or more.
VGTs are similar to slot machines as players will be wagering and see the outcome based on a random number generator. Players can wager $5 max on the machines and the top payout cannot exceed $1,000.
Back in May, the Gaming Control Board began excepting applications. Since that time, a total of 60 locations have requested to house the machines. Each location can have as many as five machines. Over 20 locations have been given conditional approval.
Penn National was one such group that was given conditional licensing by the Board. Rutter’s still has to be approved before the gaming option can begin.
Hopefully, the new games will be up and running in the next few months. It will certainly be interesting to see if the games provide an additional source of revenues and just how much time and money players will spend on this new type of gaming in the state. We should see more interest from operators once the VGTs are up and running and they have an example to go by to see just how the machines will fare.