Legal Hotline: Bingo Law Changes

  • Jan 24, 2018

Melissa Melewsky, Media Law Counsel

Q: What are the new changes to the Bingo Law and when do they go into effect?

A: Amendments to the Bingo Law were signed by Governor Wolf in late December, and they affect several provisions of the Bingo Act, including the advertising provisions. 

HB 411 was introduced by Representative Klunk (R-York) and was signed into law by Governor Wolf on December 22, 2017 as Act 66. The law takes effect 60 days from passage.

The bill makes several changes to Pennsylvania’s Bingo Law, including doubling the value of prizes that can be awarded in each game and in a single day, easing restrictions on organizations seeking licensure, and eliminating certain advertising restrictions. 

Only organizations licensed under the Bingo Law can advertise bingo. Act 66 did not remove the general advertising requirements for bingo ads, thus all bingo ads must include the following information:

  • date,
  • time,
  • location,
  • whether cash or merchandise prizes will be awarded,
  • the name of the association licensed to conduct the bingo game, and
  • the name of the individual in charge of the operation of the game.

Beginning February 20, 2018, bingo advertisements may include specific prizes, prize dollar values and any guaranteed prize dollar values. This information was prohibited in bingo ads prior to the passage of Act 66.

The Small Games of Chance Act, 10 P.S. § 325, et seq., has not been amended to remove advertising restrictions on prizes and dollar values. Organizations licensed to hold small games of chance are still prohibited from including specific prizes and dollar values in ads for small games of chance like raffles, pools, pull tabs, and other authorized games.  

As always, this is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. Please contact the PNA Legal Hotline with questions at (717) 703-3080.

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