VLTs: Trucking On

Truck-stop gaming and other expansion in Illinois and Pennsylvania mean growth for the original local-casino game

VLTs: Trucking On they go by many names: VLTs, VGTs, distributed gaming, street machines—but they all perform the same function. They are games for the ultimate locals casino operations, in handfuls of placements in bars, restaurants, truck stops, convenience stores and other locations with one thing in common—that being that they are not casinos.

The two most common acronyms for this type of gaming machine are VLTs, for video lottery terminals, and VGTs, for video gaming terminals— the latter popularized in those few jurisdictions where these types of games are not operated by a state or provincial lottery.

There’s nothing new about this genre of gaming. The term “video lottery terminal” was coined in South Dakota in 1986, and evolved to mean gaming machines distributed in limited numbers to a large number of locations. The first VLTs in Canada appeared in 1990 in New Brunswick, followed by other Canadian Atlantic provinces the following year.

Locations were limited to five machines each, and beginning in 1991, were limited to establishments holding liquor licenses.

VLTs: Trucking On Eventually, eight Canadian provinces would offer VLTs through their lotteries, and U.S. states would continue to expand the genre. States like Oregon, Montana and South Dakota offer up the machines in limited doses in liquor-licensed establishments, where in states like Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia, the lotteries place the machines in fullblown casino environments. For the most part, VLTs are identical to slot machines, but are hooked to a central system monitored by the state

In Washington and New York, central determinant systems are used—instead of RNG-based results, a finite pool of results is tapped with each play of each game. It’s the equivalent of a scratch-ticket lottery conducted electronically, with each reel result effectively a “ticket” with a winning or losing result.

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