PA Senator’s Bill Would Ban Direct Gambling Ads To Self-Excluded Customers

Written By Corey Sharp on June 17, 2024
Pennsylvania senate chamber. PA Senator Wayne Fontana has introduced a bill that prohibits gambling companies from directly marketing to self-excluded customers.

Pennsylvania Senator Wayne Fontana is heavily advocating for player safety. He recently introduced a bill that would prohibit gambling companies from directly advertising to people who placed themselves on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board‘s self-exclusion list.

The PGCB told PlayPennsylvania on Monday that there are 19,678 self-excluded individuals through June 10.

Back in April, Fontana gave players another layer of protection by sponsoring a bill that bans players from depositing money into a gambling account with a credit card.

Both pieces of legislation proves that Fontana is looking out for the best interest of players and is making responsible gambling in Pennsylvania a top priority.

Fontana’s bill protects self-excluded patrons

Both of Fontana’s bills would fall under the responsible gambling category, which in turn, helps prevent problem gambling.

Banning the use of credits cards to gamble lessens the odds of someone from accumulating debt.

Fontana’s latest bill would lessen the temptation direct advertising might cause a self-excluded individual.

Patrons that place themselves on the PGCB’s self-exclusion list are admitting to a gambling problem. According to Fontana, they should not be getting any direct mail, email or text while receiving treatment.

“I believe it is imperative for recovery that once someone places themselves on a list, the gaming industry needs respect these wishes so that the person can seek the help they need,” Fontana said in a memo in March.

Senate Bill 1211 has multiple stipulations that would keep gambling companies from contacting the self-excluded. The most important, and simple of which, states:

“Shall ensure that a self-excluded person does not receive direct advertising or marketing materials that communicate inducements, promotions, bonuses, credits, rewards, free plays or other offers from the licensed gaming entity, including, but not exclusive of, direct mail, email, texts, telephone calls and direct messaging via social media.”

In addition, gambling companies must update the self-exclusion list every 48 hours to ensure those names are not contacted.

Failure to comply with the bill comes with criminal penalty for the industry. The first offense is a misdemeanor, which includes the following fines:

  • Individual: Maximum $150,000
  • Gambling entity: Between $300,000 and $600,000
  • Gambling manufacturer: Between $150,000 and $300,000

A second violation is a felony, which includes harsher penalties:

  • Individual: Maximum $300,000
  • Gambling entity: Between $600,000 and $1.2 million
  • Gambling manufacturer: Between $300,000 and $600,000

Almost 20,000 current individuals are on PGCB self-exclusion list

Fontana is the voice for the voiceless. In his latest bill, he’s representing all 19,678 self-excluded individuals in the Keystone State (through June 10).

On June 8, 2023, the PGCB received its 20,000th casino self-exclusion request. Almost exactly a year later, the PGCB has enrolled 2,748 more people. Since individuals can come off the list, there are a total of 12,457 patrons that are on the casino self-exclusion list.

Since the Gaming Expansion Act in 2017, the PGCB has included the following three self-exclusion categories:

  • iGaming
  • VGTs
  • Fantasy sports

Online gambling has evolved rapidly in Pennsylvania since 2018, which forced the PGCB to add to three verticals above. The breakdown of the list, through June 10, is as follows:

Type Male IntakesFemale IntakesTotal IntakesRemovalsCurrent Total
Fantasy Sports1,0873271,4142931,121

Those individuals can choose a one-year, five-year or lifetime ban from gambling.

While gambling continues to grow in popularity, especially in Pennsylvania, it’s important that those experiencing problems aren’t feeling tempted.

There are nearly 20,000 people that are currently self-excluded in Pennsylvania. Fontana certainly has them at the top of his mind.

Photo by Matt Rourke / AP Photo
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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