Pennsylvania

New Pa. law on sports pool betting raises dispute

Could your Super Bowl betting pool get you in trouble?

HARRISBURG, Pa. - If you are betting on the Seahawks and Broncos game at a social club this Sunday, you may want to think twice before writing your name in a football pool square.

State police said they believe it's against the law.

"You can't bet in any way, shape or form on a professional sporting event," said Frank Noonan, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police.

"This is ridiculous. How can the state police, after I specifically wrote a law that was signed into law by the House, the Senate, the governor even signed it," said Pa. Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh/Northampton counties.

The law is Act 92 and allows social clubs to participate in small games of chance. Boscola, the bill's sponsor, said she believes it includes football pools.

"They're interpreting it so broadly to say nobody can place a bet on any team," added Boscola.

"I wouldn't want you to think that it's a bunch of troopers sitting around the lunch table saying I don't think this is legal," said Noonan. "We have a number of lawyers that have worked in this field for the past 20 years."

State police believe the state law violates the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act, a federal law that prevents betting on sports by anyone except for places where sports betting is legal.

It looks like both sides may be in for a battle to see who's right. The question remains: Is placing that bet worth it?

"Some of them said we're not doing this because what if the state police does come in and cite us?  It's not worth it we don't get a cut anyway," said Boscola. "Then others are saying I should just have this pool and advertise it."

State police said they will not be going to social clubs looking for these pools, but they will be looking for drinking violations. Noonan said if a trooper does see a pool, the club will be cited. 


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