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VIDEO GAMING: A BIG WIN FOR PENNSYLVANIA
Legislation (HB 649, Mustio Amendment A04847) based on the successful Illinois video gaming model is pending in Pennsylvania. The below video on the impact of video gaming from Illinois is used as a reference.
Why Video Gaming?
At a time when small businesses, municipalities and the Commonwealth are facing difficult financial challenges, video gaming is a proven game-changer. Across Illinois, video gaming is working to renew hope for bars, restaurants, veterans and fraternal organizations and other small businesses. It is generating new money, creating new jobs and growing the economy. Based on Illinois, legalizing video gaming terminals at licensed establishments in Pennsylvania would generate $500 million in new state revenues, create tens of thousands of new jobs and give local governments over $35 million dollars annually. These revenue totals are a safe and accurate estimate because Pennsylvania and Illinois share almost identical demographics.
How does it work?
A four-tiered system would be created consisting of the manufacturers, distributors, Pennsylvania-based terminal operators, and licensed liquor establishments. Licensed establishments would be authorized for placement of up to 5 video gaming terminals, which are all connected to a state monitored central communications system.
The entire video gaming program would be under the direct supervision of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). The PGCB would license each participant in the program from the manufacturers to the technicians. The PGCB would ensure that bad actors are excluded from the program. The state, licensed establishments and terminal operators would share in the revenues generated by video gaming. The Commonwealth could decide where to spend its $500 million in new revenues.
Each video gaming terminal hosts an assortment of individual games including poker, blackjack, bingo, keno or any other game authorized by the PGCB. Once a game is chosen, a player who must be 21 or older can wager a penny to two dollars. Players can win up to $500 on any given play. Once the game is completed, the player will hit a cash-out button to receive a voucher. Each location would be required to have a cash redemption device. This device pays the player’s voucher down to the penny. The cash redemption device is a standalone unit used for ticket redemption and bill breaking.
Video gaming would benefit people and businesses throughout the state. Thousands of small taverns would have additional money to make mortgage payments, needed renovations and hire more employees. The local VFW, American Legion, Moose and Elks clubs would have money to continue helping veterans and their families, sponsoring local little league teams and supporting various local charities. Hundreds of struggling small businesses providing coin-operated pinball machines, trivia games, dart leagues and jukeboxes would be able to stay in business, increase employment and expand. The Commonwealth would have new revenues to help fill the budget deficit, pay down the public employee pension debts or increase funding for basic or higher education.
Legalized video gaming would eliminate the estimated 40,000 unregulated and untaxed poker machines operating throughout the Commonwealth.