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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Wants Possible Prison Terms For Those Caught Playing Online Poker

Law Would Be Similar To One On The Books In Washington State


Some in Pennsylvania have been pondering the idea of legalizing online gaming that would be offered from state-sanctioned sites, while at least one elected official now wants the act of playing to be criminalized, according to an article on

A state lawmaker is pushing a proposal that would make the “first violation a summary offense that carries a possible $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail”, while “a second violation would be a misdemeanor bringing a chance of a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail.”

Those penalties apparently wouldn’t be for running an illegal gambling website in or from the state, but simply for logging on and wagering on an existing site, presumably offshore as the law would make sites domestic to Pennsylvania impossible.

“I believe that if you hit people in their wallets, we can start to crack down on the lawbreakers,” state Rep. Mario Scavello reportedly said.

The lawmaker’s efforts have the blessing of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, a group which billionaire casino boss Sheldon Adelson has pledged to fund endlessly. Las Vegas Sands has a casino in Pennsylvania, so it has some skin in the game there.

The state has the second largest commercial casino industry in the nation.

A year ago to the day, the state of Washington decided to delay fixing its law that says playing online poker is criminal. Even though no one has ever been prosecuted for playing online poker there, many poker supporters view that statute as draconian.

Neighboring Pennsylvania is New Jersey, which has legal and operational web gambling.

The major offshore poker sites left American cyberspace after Black Friday in 2011, but many smaller sites still take action from those within the Unite States.



almost 8 years ago

The players paying for a service being offered aren't the criminals it's the companies operating out of the jurisdiction that are breaking the law.


almost 8 years ago

This is one of the reason's I left Pennsylvania 20 years ago . Stupid politicians wasting everyone's time. Oh and please tell me how they would go about knowing somebody is playing this horrible game of online poker? I can see it now on Action news channel 6. Today police broke in the door of Johnny Quad's and found him play .02-.04 Limit Holdem . While at gunpoint they cop's confiscated his computer and took the criminal in to custody.

Meanwhile across town pedohiles rejoiced as the focus was now on those nasty poker players breaking the internet laws.



almost 8 years ago

You forgot to add that the police shot Johnny several times as they entered his house mistakenly taking his computer mouse for a WMD. All officers were cleared of any wrong doing and given 6-months paid administration leave and free Disney World tickets.