On Nov. 27, Gov. Tom Corbett signed Act 90 of 2013 into law legalizing tavern gaming – that is, tavern raffles for a charitable or public purpose, pull-tab games and daily drawings at certain licensed establishments.
Why should anyone care? This is part of a continued expansion of gambling opportunities for Pennsylvania residents. This sort of gaming was relegated to private clubs; like Legions and Veteran’s Associations, but will now be accepted at public venues that hold liquor licenses such as; restaurants, hotels, privately-owned public golf courses and brew pubs.
With availability comes increase of use. With increase of use comes the potential for an increase in problems. These sorts of games can be viewed as harmless, like instant lottery tickets. The reality is that these types of gambling can become just as addictive as all other forms of gambling. Consider the availability of instant lotteries; they can be purchased in just about every convenient store and/or gas station. In the fiscal year of 2012-2013, Pennsylvania sold over 2 billion dollars in instant lottery tickets.
Consider the expansion of casinos in Pennsylvania. In 2009-2010, the number of people that sought help for a gambling problem through state funding (Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs) was 107. In 2010-2011, that number rose by over 50% to 166. Is there a correlation to The Sands (opened 5/2009), Parx (expanded gambling 12/2009) and Sugar House (opened 9/2010) opening and/or offering expanded gambling during this time?
The information listed above is why we should care. Gambling is a serious addiction that certainly won’t decrease as long as we increase the opportunities for PA residents to gamble. If you or a family member is experiencing problems related to gambling please visit our website and/or call our 1-800-221-6333 hotline to find out how to access help.
Check out the PA Liquor Control Board website for more information about Act 90. http://www.lcb.state.pa.us/PLCB/Licensees/TavernGaming/index.htm
M. Jason Radosky
Criminal Justice Manager