Legislation Introduced Today Would Criminalize Internet Gambling and Protect the Citizens of Pennsylvania

As the call to halt the expansion of Internet gambling continues to gain widespread momentum nationwide, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) today applauded the efforts of Pennsylvania House Rep. Mario Scavello, the prime sponsor of a bill that would criminalize online gaming in the state.

“Internet gambling has devastating social, economic and law enforcement consequences for our society. Taking swift and decisive action by criminalizing it would be a step in the right direction as we work to fight back against the online gaming industry,” said former New York Gov. George Pataki (R-NY), former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, CSIG National Co-Chairs, in a joint statement.
“Thankfully, the citizens of Pennsylvania have a leader in Rep. Scavello who is working to ensure that the residents of this great state are protected from the destructive impacts of online gaming. Children should not be able to play poker with the same ease as they text their friends. Fighting back to shield our most vulnerable is our only choice.”

Rep. Scavello’s legislation establishes online gambling as a summary offense for first-time offenders. A second offense would be classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.

“We call on the Pennsylvania legislature to vote in favor of this bill and send a powerful message that online gaming has no place in American society,” continued Gov. Pataki, Sen. Lincoln and Mayor Wellington.

A recent Quinnipiac Poll found 62% of Pennsylvania voters oppose legalizing online gambling. That overwhelming majority mirrors a national poll conducted by The Tarrance Group, late last year, which found 67% of Americans opposed it.