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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 26, 2019 02:12 PM
From: Representative Jason Ortitay
To: All House members
Subject: Problem Gambling Evaluation for Trespassing While on a Gaming Self-Exclusion List
 
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation (similar to former HB 759), that will amend Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) to better assist individuals who violate either the casino self-exclusion list or the new VGT self-exclusion list with obtaining treatment for gambling addiction.

The self-exclusion list was created by the Gaming Act to allow individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from entering casinos within the Commonwealth. With the legalization of VGTs, a similar list was created for VGT gaming as well. These lists have and will continue to be an invaluable tool for individuals who recognize that they may have a gambling addiction, and over 7,000 requests have been made to the Gaming Control Board for individuals to be placed on the casino list. At this time, if a self-excluded individual enters a casino, and eventually a VGT area when that form of gaming becomes operational, the individual can be charged with criminal trespass.

Rather than simply imposing criminal penalties on these individuals, I believe that these individuals need to be provided the opportunity to seek problem gambling treatment. Under my legislation, courts will be provided with an additional sentencing provision when an individual is convicted of trespass resulting from a violation of a self-exclusion list. Specifically, courts will be provided the discretion to direct the individual to be evaluated in a manner deemed appropriate by the court to determine if the individual has a gambling disorder and whether there is a need for counseling or treatment as part of the sentence or pre-adjudication disposition.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

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Introduced as HB1325