Ten Bucks County State Reps sent a letter to the County Commissioners “imploring” them to block Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) access to truck stops.
House Bill 271, which reforms horse racing and adds amusement options for gambling, was signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Tom Wolf. The bill passed the House with zero support from Bucks Reps.
“I think it’s bad public policy,” Rep. Petri expressed. “We’re a Commonwealth, we believe in local control and so imagine all the counties that don’t have a casino…they can be stuck with something that they don’t want.”
Act 42 of 2017 has a section that will allow VGTs in truck stops across the state, but counties with established casinos may opt out of the motion by Dec. 29.
“We included a draft resolution with the language needed to block VGTs at truck stops,” said Rep. Petri, a delegation member and chairman of the House Gaming Committee. “The commissioners just need to bring it up for a vote and get a copy to the Gaming Control Board before the deadline.”
A ‘truck stop’ is “vaguely” defined in the bill leading Reps from Bucks to believe the spread of VGTs will, “negatively impact property taxes” and “cut our local share and cause layoffs.” The County currently receives more than $850 thousand in revenue from Parx Casino located in Bensalem Township.
“The way they wrote the bill there is no benefit for the county,” Charles Martin, Chairman of the Commissioners said on VGTs. “Other than perhaps the truck stops, 10 percent of the gross revenue will go to the Commonwealth Financing Authority that would then determine how to distribute that money back to various projects under public interest.”
Despite the “advice” from the State Reps, the commissioners will consider the area of Act 42 as any other bill passed by the state legislature, Martin explained.
He also made clear of another odd provision of Act 42 which grants counties that at first block VGTs to, at a later time, vote to approve them. However, if commissioners vote to allow VGTs a motion to block them later is not allowed.
The Commissioners will vote on Dec. 20 at the Convention of Visitors Borrow located at 3207 Street Road, coincidently close to Parx.