19,678 currently on self-exclusion list

Pennsylvania senator introduces bill to shield self-excluded gamblers from direct advertising

Pennsylvania Senator Wayne Fontana
Reading time 1:25 min

In a move aimed at strengthening protections for vulnerable individuals, Pennsylvania Senator Wayne Fontana has introduced Senate Bill 1211, a piece of legislation to prevent gambling companies from targeting those on the state's self-exclusion list with direct advertisements.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) disclosed that as of June 10, there are 19,678 individuals currently on the self-exclusion list, PlayPennsylvania reported. This list allows individuals to voluntarily ban themselves from all forms of gambling activities in Pennsylvania, a measure intended for those who acknowledge their struggle with gambling addiction.

This bill marks Fontana's latest effort to curb the potential harms associated with gambling addiction. The senator, who has been a staunch advocate for player safety, previously sponsored legislation prohibiting the use of credit cards for gambling deposits.

"Once someone places themselves on a list, the gaming industry needs to respect these wishes so that the person can seek the help they need," Fontana stated in a memo earlier this year.

Senate Bill 1211 mandates that gambling entities must refrain from sending direct marketing materials, including inducements, promotions, and bonuses, to individuals on the self-exclusion list. 

Moreover, companies are required to update the self-exclusion list every 48 hours to ensure those names are not contacted. Failure to comply with the bill will result in criminal penalties for the gambling industry.

For a first offense, which is classified as a misdemeanor, the fines are as follows: individuals may face a maximum fine of $150,000, gambling entities could be fined between $300,000 and $600,000, and gambling manufacturers could incur fines ranging from $150,000 to $300,000.

A second violation escalates to a felony and carries significantly harsher penalties. Individuals could face a maximum fine of $300,000. For gambling entities, fines would range between $600,000 and $1.2 million, while gambling manufacturers could be fined between $300,000 and $600,000.

Since its enactment in 2017 under the Gaming Expansion Act, the PGCB has expanded the self-exclusion program to include categories such as iGaming, Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs), and fantasy sports. The breakdown of individuals on the list as of June 10 includes 12,457 patrons self-excluded from casino gambling, with additional segments for iGaming, VGTs, and fantasy sports.

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