State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Lancaster can now opt out of video gambling terminals

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jul 3, 2019 8:16 PM

Lancaster County, with its large Amish population, has long opposed the proliferation of legal gambling. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- Lancaster County municipalities are rushing to pass resolutions banning video gaming terminals in their gas stations and truck stops.

They're taking advantage of a new opt-out law Governor Tom Wolf recently signed along with the state budget.

Amish-heavy Lancaster County has long had a gripe with Pennsylvania's rapid expansion of gambling, and the opposition has been especially intense since 2017.

That year, the commonwealth passed a gaming expansion that included, among other things, games of chance that could be installed in truck stops and gas stations, and were designed to net needed revenue for the state's struggling General Fund.

Counties with casinos were allowed to opt out.

Most other counties didn't have an issue with the VGTs, but Lancaster did. That's why the legislation Wolf just signed is targeted: it includes population requirements that essentially limits municipality opt-outs to Lancaster.

Those municipalities now have sixty days to deliver their resolutions to the Gaming Control Board.

After the 2017 gaming expansion, every town and city in Lancaster took advantage of a similar opt-out provision regarding mini-casinos.

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