Costa and Mustio Make Fiscal Case for Legalizing Video Gaming Terminals in Local Taverns and Clubs

Capturing underground video gaming revenue would bolster Main Street and help balance state budget

Reps. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny and Mark Mustio, R-Allegheny, today hosted a state Capitol news conference to discuss the benefits of legalizing Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) in Pennsylvania’s taverns and clubs.

“Today, we are here to say that diversification is needed because Pennsylvania’s brick and mortar casinos are leaving too much of the market untapped,” said Mustio. “At the state level, legalizing VGTs translates into $400 million in tax and fee revenue for the General Fund that is otherwise left on the table every year. To look at this another way, Pennsylvania has missed out on an additional $4 billion in General Fund revenue over the past decade. Moving forward, can we realistically afford to miss out on another $4 billion in recurring revenue over the next 10 years?

“Most importantly, taxpayers are our only partners in legalizing VGTs in our local taverns and clubs. This is about Main Street, not Wall Street,” concluded Mustio.

Both lawmakers indicated that specific plans for the legalization of VGTs in Pennsylvania’s clubs and taverns will be proposed to Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and Senate and introduced through the amendment process in the near future.

“We all know two things,” said Costa. “First, there are tens of thousands of illegal, untaxed and unregulated video gambling devices operating throughout Pennsylvania. Secondly, the Commonwealth is in serious need for additional revenues for this year and for future years.

“In addition to bolstering the bottom lines of our local clubs and taverns, legalizing VGTs will help to eliminate the ‘underground’ video poker economy and will bring a consistent new flow of revenue to help us pay for education, pensions and mounting state police budgets. As the recent experience and overwhelming success in Illinois demonstrates—if done correctly—this source of recurring state and local revenue, along with thousands of new jobs in the hospitality and vending industries, can be achieved without having a significant impact on Pennsylvania’s 12 existing casinos,” Costa added.