Online Gambling in Pennsylvania

The laws for the State of Pennsylvania as relates unauthorized gambling are actually quite simple, virtually everything concerning the operation of unlawful gambling amounts to a First Degree Misdemeanor. For those of you who want to read the full letter of the law in this regard, then you may look at this page.

The law does not appear to provide any penalty whatsoever for mere players regardless of what the conduct that constitutes the unlawful gambling is specifically. The law also has specific sections related to bookmaking, unlawful lotteries and other forms of unlawful gambling, but the result of conduct of any of those is always the same: A First Degree Misdemeanor.

In the State of Pennsylvania, First Degree Misdemeanors are punishable by up to five years incarceration and fines of up to $10,000. 

Earlier this year, three individuals were arrested in Chester County, PA for illegal gambling conduct involving five illegal gambling machines and during such arrest, roughly $37,000 was confiscated.

Marc Gergely, a state representative in Pennsylvania was also arrested in connection with illegal video gambling devices at locations throughout the state.

Anecdotally speaking, I can say that many businesses (mostly bars and restaurants) in Pennsylvania have at least one such device, but cops tend to turn a blind eye to them if they are not a major source of revenue.  

Of course, there have been no arrests in PA of mere players participating in online gambling because there are almost never any such arrests anywhere, but also because it is perfectly legal to play at online casinos in the state. 

Because it is legal for players to play at online casinos in the state, and because the state seems to be seriously considering legalizing and regulating some online casinos, we will categorize PA as being only lightly restrictive simply because it is illegal to be an operator.


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