Truck stops just got a little more interesting last week.

The recently-passed Pennsylvania gambling expansion law contained many new bits of legislation, one of them being the introduction of video gaming terminals (VGTs) into truck stops. The state’s coffers are happy; more VGTs means more revenue. Casinos, not so much; more VGTs means less foot traffic on their gambling floors.

Truck stops and truckers? That’s an interesting one, according to Pennsylvania newspaper The Daily Item, which┬áinterviewed truckers and employees at a PA Flying J truck stop.

“Truck drivers now are mandated to spend hours resting and they need something to do,” employee Randy Snyder told the paper. “They get bored. I’ve seen some people play these non-lottery games for hours. I believe they’d welcome another diversion. It would be a good way to pass the time.”

The Morning Call talked with a trucker named Barb McDonald, who agreed with Snyder.

“I think it’s great. Drivers can sit and gamble when they have their breaks,” McDonald said, going on to point out that a trucker’s break is 10 hours.

VGTs could lead to sleepless nights

As Snyder mentioned in his defense of VGTs, truckers are mandated to rest for a certain number of hours each day.

Truck stops like Flying J provide a place for that rest to take place. Truckers can park their rigs in designated spots, fill up on gas, take hot showers and get a hot meal.

Only problem is, the presence of VGTs could pull truckers away from their bunks and into a night-long poker binge.

One trucker told the The Daily Item he didn’t object to VGTs being in truck stop, but he’s concerned that truckers won’t use their resting time for resting.

Not every truck stop will qualify for VGTs

The new Pennsylvania gambling legislation is pretty specific about which truck stops are allowed to have VGTs and which one’s won’t.

First, it’s important to point out that eligible locations will be allowed to have up to five video poker terminals. Second, truck stops will have to meet the following requires in order to be eligible for video gaming:

  • Average diesel sales of $50,000 per year
  • At least 20 truck parking spots
  • Property includes a convenience store
  • At least three acres of non-turnpike land

These regulations do the obvious work of making sure a business is a legitimate truck stop and not a gas station parading as a truck stop just to get their video poker terminals.

J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren is a freelance writer and author. He is a three-time winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest. His work has appeared in numerous blogs and publications including Bespoke Post, Snooth, Our Amazing Norway, Barcelona Metropolitan and The Villages Daily Sun.