Rutter's Bets on Gaming to Draw New Customers

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The exterior of a Rutter's convenience store

Rutter's Bets on Gaming to Draw New Customers

04/04/2018
Rutter's is readying applications to add video gaming terminals to some c-stores.
Rutter's is readying applications to add video gaming terminals to some c-stores.

YORK, Pa. — Rutter's has been adding features to its convenience stores, notably beer caves thanks to a change in Pennsylvania law that now allows c-store retailers to sell beer.

Now, another recent legislative change is opening a new avenue to attract customers. This past fall, a new gaming bill allowed retailers meeting certain criteria to add video gaming terminals.

While Rutter's is known as a convenience retailer in central Pennsylvania, its move toward large format stores in the past few years opens it up to gaming, President and CEO Scott Hartman told Global Convenience Store Focus.

According to the report, Rutter's is in the planning application and construction phase to build out rooms to support adding gaming terminals. Hartman said there are roughly 30 Rutter's stores that should qualify for gaming — a change that could bring new customers in the door.

He noted that a recent trial in Illinois has shown that the introduction of gaming has not affected lottery sales; and gaming has drawn interest from women, who choose the locations as a meeting point, to have a cup of coffee and for gaming.

"There's been a higher skew towards female than you would have expected. We love that — it's new customers and a new revenue stream," Hartman said.

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, truck stop establishments can add up to five video gaming terminals if they meet the following criteria:

  • Equipped with diesel islands used for fueling commercial motor vehicles;
  • Sold on average 50,000 gallons of diesel or biodiesel fuel each month for the previous 12 months, or is projected to sell an average of 50,000 gallons of diesel or biodiesel fuel each month for the next 12 months;
  • Offers at least 20 parking spaces dedicated for commercial motor vehicles;
  • Has a convenience store;
  • Is a Pennsylvania Lottery sales agent; and
  • Is situated on a parcel of land of not less than three acres.

The board began accepting applications in January.

York-based Rutter's operates 69 convenience stores throughout central Pennsylvania and a beverage company serving the Mid-Atlantic region.