HARRISBURG – Reps. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) and Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) announced today that they have introduced legislation to permit Small Games of Chance (SGOC) licensees to conduct games online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Events to raffle popular items such as golf equipment and other items have become important community fundraisers throughout Pennsylvania. COVID-19 restrictions have greatly inhibited the fire departments, veterans associations and other nonprofit organizations that rely on revenue from these events. However, many of these entities have not only continued to operate, but in some cases, particularly first response agencies, have experienced an increase in their expenses because of the coronavirus.
“COVID-19 restrictions have seriously hurt our fire departments’ and other nonprofit organizations’ ability to generate funds,” said Reese. “For many of these organizations, ticket sales and bashes are regular income sources and how they provide some very important community services. Many organizations have found unique ways to continue to raise funds using technology and social media. This bill, if passed, will solidify that they are operating within the law.”
“Our communities rely on first response agencies to keep us safe, and on veterans and other social organizations to support things like scholarships, scouting and youth sports,” Warner said. “We need these services now more than ever, and the only way they can remain available is by ensuring nonprofit organizations have the ability to raise funds despite COVID-19 restrictions.”
Some licensees took an innovative approach to make up for this revenue loss by using online methods to conduct games of chance. However, current enforcement regulations and procedures do not expressly allow for online sales of small games chances but do prohibit licensees from accepting credit card and online payments from participants. House Bill 2764
would create statutory language to allow SGOC licensees to conduct online games as well as conduct online transactions during the duration of the COVID-19 emergency declaration.
Representative Mike Reese
Representative Ryan Warner
Pennsylvania House of Representatives