HARRISBURG, November 27, 2013 – Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law legislation originally introduced by Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/Monroe) that legalizes small sports betting pools.

“I am pleased that our law finally recognizes the legitimacy of this harmless and leisurely activity that so many Pennsylvanians have taken part in for so many years,” Boscola said.

Boscola said the small pools are a “fun, spirited and harmless way to test one’s knowledge and luck at sports.” The contests are often associated with events such as the Super Bowl or “March Madness” college basketball tournament.

She said the new law was necessary because local fraternal and volunteer clubs were often threatened or targeted by police and liquor enforcement agencies over the pools.

Under the legislation (House Bill 290), volunteer organizations and clubs that have a small games of chance license may offer small sports betting pools if:

  • the entry amount is $20 or less;
  • there are no more than 100 participants; and
  • all pool proceeds are awarded to the contestants.

The Northampton County lawmaker said she was disappointed that the law does not include a provision she supported that would have allowed a portion of the proceeds to be donated to a bona fide charitable organization.

Boscola first introduced her legislation to legalize the small betting pools in 2011. Most of the provisions of her bill (Senate Bill 483) were amended into House Bill 290, an omnibus bill that also makes several reforms to the state’s Small Games of Chance law.

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