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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Senate OKs Betting Pool Proposal

Calling it a “common sense vote for a harmless and leisurely activity that most people already assume is legal,” state Sen. Lisa Boscola today announced that the Senate voted 45 to 5 in favor of her proposal that would legalize small sports betting pools.

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

“These pools are available in nearly every social club you go to,” Boscola said. “Today’s vote finally signals a willingness to legitimize an activity that many people enjoy and rightly assume is legal.”

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 amended bill did not include a provision in her original legislation 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, which would also make several reforms to the state’s Small Games of Chance law.

The amended bill now returns to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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