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Pennsylvania Online Gambling Laws

While most state gambling laws clearly define the term 'gambling', the law in Pennsylvania is silent on what gambling is and rather focuses on the unlawful part. The definition of what is unlawful is short and precise - anything that is not specifically authorized by law is unlawful. So only gambling activities specifically authorized by law are legal. The definition of a gambling device is rather broad. A gambling device includes drawing card, punch board, slot machine or any other device used for gambling. The definition specifically makes an exception for playing cards. Playing poker is legal in the state of Pennsylvania as long as it is played in a manner specifically authorized by the state gambling law.

Pennsylvania gambling law does not provide any criminal penalties for those involved in illegal gambling as players. While being involved in social gambling as a player does not attract any penalty, hosting a social game is a misdemeanor offense. Pennsylvania gambling law is silent on PA online gambling and online poker for Pennsylvania players.

Land Based Gambling Laws In Pennslyvania

There are licensed and regulated casinos in the state. Playing poker at such a casino is legal if the casino offers poker. Pennsylvania gambling laws make an exception for charitable gambling but the charitable gambling exception does not include poker. Theoretically speaking playing a home poker game will not result in criminal charges for the players. If the home poker game is illegal under Pennsylvania gambling law, the owner of the house can face criminal charges for allowing persons to assemble for an illegal gambling activity at a premise under his control. The laws for this state are also silent regarding Pennsylvania online casino gaming and sports betting for PA players.

Pennsylvania Gambling Laws Concerning Lottery

Pennsylvania has a state lottery. Multi state lotteries are also permitted in the state. The state legalized lottery in 1971 by passing Act 91 of 1971. The first state lottery tickets were sold on March 7, 1972 and the first draw was held on March 15, 1972. The law requires that at least 40 percent of the lottery proceeds to be paid as prizes. The state lottery is an important source of revenue for many senior welfare programs including low cost prescription drug programs, free and reduced fare transit and rent rebates. In fact the state lottery is the only state lottery in the entire United States that designates all proceeds (after prizes, retailer commissions and expenses) to senior residents' benefit and welfare programs.

PA Gambling Laws Concerning Bingo And Small Games Of Chance

Qualified associations in the state of Pennsylvania can conduct bingo and other small games of chances. Small games of chances include daily drawings, punch boards, pull tabs and raffles. Such associations are prohibited from conducting any other gambling game including video poker and slot machines. Qualified associations include:

Pennsylvania gambling law imposes restriction on the amount of prize money for bingo games conducted by qualified associations. The prize money for each bingo game except jackpot games cannot exceed $250. The prize money for a jackpot game cannot exceed $2000. The law also limits the amount of prize money that can be given in any calendar day to $4000. In a calendar week, a person cannot be associated with the operation of

This rule does not apply to those associated with operation of bingo games for merchandise at carnivals, expositions and fairs up to 10 days. There is no mention of Pennsylvania online bingo gambling in the statutes.

Horse Racing Gambling Laws in PA

Horse racing is legal in Pennsylvania. In 2004, the state passed the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act to regulate horse and harness racing in the state. The state has a Horse Racing Commission that regulates horse racing and a Harness Racing commission to regulate harness racing in the state. There are three thoroughbred horse tracks in the state, each owned by a casino. Harness racing is confined to the cities of Bensalem, Chester and Wilkes-Barre.

Pennsylvania Online Gambling Laws – Where Do They Stand?

In April 2013, the state took its first step towards legalizing online gambling when Rep. Tina Davis (D-Bucks) introduced House Bill 1235. The bill seeks to allow casinos in the state to offer online games including blackjack, poker, slot machines and other games approved by the state Gaming Control Board. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Gaming Oversight.

Does Federal Law Prohibit Pennsylvania Online Gambling?

Federal laws do not impose any restriction on online poker, casino gaming, or sports betting. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act does not apply to players; it applies only to the gambling site operators and financial institutions that process the payments associated with online gambling.

Pennsylvania Gambling Laws

Players who would like to review the actual gambling laws and statutes for the state of Pennsylvania can access the Pennsylvania State Legislature Website and see them in their official state with original language.

**If you are in search of a professional interpretation of any law or statute, then we recommend that you contact a lawyer. If you are needing legal advice, again, we recommend that you contact a lawyer. We are experienced online gambling consultants, however we do not hold any law degrees or certifications, nor do we claim to be lawyers or formally trained in any area of law expertise.