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Basic Guidance on What is Legal Versus Illegal for Club Licenses and Eligible Organizations

In Pennsylvania, all forms of gambling are illegal unless specifically authorized by law. The Pennsylvania Lottery, bingo, slots, table games and small games of chance are forms of gaming authorized by law. 

The Pennsylvania Local Option Small Games of Chance Act was passed in 1988 and has been amended several times since enactment. The law authorizes club licensees and eligible organizations licensed by county treasurers to conduct small games of chance to offer the following types of gambling:

  • Pull-tab games
  • Punchboards 
  • Raffles, including raffle auctions and special permit raffles 
  • Daily drawings 
  • Weekly drawings 
  • 50-50 drawings
  • Race night games obtained from distributors licensed with the department 
  • Pools

Following are some examples of illegal forms of gambling:

  • Quarter auctions 
  • Monte Carlo/casino/poker nights (outside of authorized casinos) 
  • Numbers games (outside the Pennsylvania Lottery)

NOTE: This list is not exhaustive and is intended for illustrative purposes only. Ultimately, police and law enforcement officials are responsible for determining and prosecuting illegal gambling activity.