Newberry Twp. supervisor: Rutter's 'greedy' for operating video gambling machines

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

The Newberry Township Board of Supervisors is looking into whether it can prohibit or regulate the use of truck stop Video Gaming Terminals, or VGTs, in the township, specifically referring to the gambling machines at some Rutter's gas stations.

Supervisor Maxine Kauffman brought it up at a supervisors' meeting Tuesday and said the gambling machines were "disgusting" and that Rutter's was "greedy" for allowing the machines in their stores.

"They have their cigarettes, they have their alcohol and now they have gambling," she said. "What’s next?"

Video gaming terminals are akin to virtual slot machines, with maximum bets of $5 and maximum payouts of $10,000, and they're only permitted at qualifying truck stops, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

To qualify as a truck stop, a gas station must provide diesel fuel for commercial vehicles, sell a minimum amount of diesel fuel per month, have at least 20 parking spaces and sit on at least 3 acres of land, among other requirements, Doug Harbach, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, said Wednesday.

Rutter's began installing gaming terminals at its stores in August 2019. 

The Newberry Township Municipal complex Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Kauffman said she thought the board already prohibited gambling in the township when the board opted out of "mini casinos," but solicitor Andrew Miller said video gaming terminals aren't considered mini casinos.

At the mention of establishing a gaming ordinance in the township, board chairperson Dave Kirkpatrick asked if there could be a way to tax the game revenues and make some money for the township.

Supervisor Clair Wintermyer said that wouldn't be a good idea and that the focus should be on stopping people from wasting their money on the machines, rather than taxing the revenue to make money.

It was unclear Wednesday exactly what power local governments have to regulate gambling sites such as those at Rutter's. 

Kauffman didn't specify which Rutter's store she was referencing, but Harbach said Wednesday all seven of York County's VGT locations are inside Rutter's stores.

The board discussed its legal options with Miller in executive session but took no action.

Miller was unavailable to comment Wednesday, and a Rutter's spokesperson did not immediately return calls. 

“Rutter’s has evolved as a business over the years, from a dairy to convenience stores, from smokes and cokes to fuel and food service,” said Rutter’s president and CEO Scott Hartman this past year in a statement. “We are constantly listening and learning from our customers, and VGTs are one example of our progressive model.”

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