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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 12, 2017 03:29 PM
From: Representative Paul Costa
To: All House members
Subject: Increasing Underage Gambling and Misrepresentation of Age Penalties (Former HB 868)

In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to amend the Crimes Code (Title 18) to create the new offense of underage gambling and misrepresentation of age.

Problem gambling among teens and young adults has been increasing at alarming rates. According to the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High Risk Behaviors at McGill University, 60-80% of high school students reported having gambled for money in 2012. Gambling addiction among adolescents and young adults has also been shown to lead to health and financial problems, including higher incidents of depression, as well as increased rates of criminal activity and substance abuse. The International Centre also reports that such addiction is comparable to drug and alcohol addiction in severity and negative effects on impulse control.

My legislation will mirror the penalties under the Crimes Code for underage teens who purchase, consume, possess or transport liquor or malt or brewed beverages. Penalties associated with the new offenses will range from fines to the loss of driving privileges for 90 days on the first offense. Subsequent offenses will result in increased fines and longer suspensions. Furthermore, the magisterial judge may direct the teen to be evaluated in a manner deemed appropriate by the court to determine if the person has a gambling disorder and whether there is a need for counseling or treatment as part of the sentence or preadjudication disposition.

I believe this legislation is needed to continue our efforts to curb underage gambling while helping our young adults stop a problem before it gets worse. Therefore, it is my hope that you will join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Previous co-sponsors: D. Costa, DeLuca, Readshaw, Acosta, Brownlee, Cohen, Helm, Mahoney, McNeill and Murt

Introduced as HB394