HARRISBURG, January 29, 2013 – As thousands of Pennsylvanians this week wager a few dollars on small Super Bowl betting pools, state Senator Lisa M. Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/Monroe) plans to reintroduce legislation to legalize them.

 “These pools are fun, spirited and harmless ways to test one’s sports knowledge and luck,” Boscola said. “It’s ridiculous that our laws brand these harmless and engaging contests as illegal.”

 Boscola said most people have either played a friendly pool at some point or have friends and relatives who have participated in them. She reasoned that “no game is being fixed, no one is losing their life savings and no company from Great Britain is angling to run all of the pools.”

 She added that the amateurs who organize these small pools usually don’t receive any compensation. Under Boscola’s proposal, betting pools would only be legal if: 

  • the entry amount is $20 or less;
  • there are no more than 100 participants;
  • There is an established social, professional or familial relationship between contestants; and
  • all pool proceeds must be awarded to the contestants or donated to a bona fide charitable organization.

 Since she originally introduced the bill last March, Boscola said many constituents have voiced their support. She said most sports fans join a pool at work, with family members, or with friends at local civic and volunteer clubs. She said her legislation merely “legitimizes an activity that most people already rightly assume is legitimate.”

 Boscola said her proposal “merely recognizes a harmless commonplace social activity that people enjoy taking part in once or twice a year.” She said she was concerned after being told that state liquor enforcement officers recently raided a local club and seized the funds that club members wagered on their annual Super Bowl pool.

 “The agents conducted an ‘investigation’ into the club’s operation of the pool,” Boscola said today on the Senate floor. “They even had video tape of people signing their name to the sheet. So, you may ask, how much money was confiscated in this raid?  A mere $120 dollars!”

 “I think the better question to ask is how much money was spent on that investigation in the first place?”

 Boscola’s proposal is modeled after a Vermont law and a similar bill pending in Michigan.

After successfully predicting Lehigh’s major upset of Duke during last year’s NCAA basketball tournament, Boscola joked that she is touting a 49ers win in Sunday’s Super Bowl. 

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