FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Tina Davis
Gaming loophole bill awaits governor's approval
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, said legislation she helped author that would prohibit Internet sweepstakes cafes is on its way to the governor's desk.
Davis co-authored H.B. 1893, which will make it a misdemeanor offense to own, operate, maintain or have a financial interest in an electronic gaming machine or sweepstakes through the use of a simulated gambling device.
The bill passed the state House unanimously late last year and recently was amended in the state Senate simply to clarify its language. Today the House concurred on the Senate's changes, sending it to the governor for his approval.
"This is a bipartisan bill that will shut down the 'Las Vegas' or casino-style gaming loophole that's become a problem in communities in Pennsylvania," Davis said. "I'm proud to have worked with Representative Vulakovich to see this through."
Davis said that through this loophole, cafes offer online "sweepstakes" with the purchase of Internet time on a computer or long-distance phone card. When the customer makes a purchase, they are given free entries to play a sweepstakes game. The entrant plays the game and earns points that are redeemable for cash.
Under Pennsylvania law, a sweepstakes is considered to be predetermined, not a game of chance, and therefore falls outside of state gambling laws, Davis said.
The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.