Illegal Video Poker Machines and Small Business Crime Deterrence in Pennsylvania

Timothy O'Boyle, Rutgers University

In general, this study examines the effectiveness of small business crime deterrence in Pennsylvania. Specifically, I will study how and if the State of Pennsylvania is effective in deterring public bars and private social clubs from the crime of gambling, via the illegal use of video poker machines, in Lehigh County. This situation is unique in that, Pennsylvania has created a specific law enforcement agency whose sole purpose is to deal with law violations committed by public bars and private social clubs, the Liquor Control Enforcement Agency. This agency has sole jurisdiction in dealing with any liquor code violations--of which gambling is one--occurring in these establishments. Is the Liquor Control Enforcement Agency for the State of Pennsylvania effectively deterring the crime of illegal gambling via video poker machines, in Lehigh County? Do the perceived costs of the certainty and severity of sanctions outweigh the benefits derived from illegal gambling in these establishments? This study will attempt to answer these questions.

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Updated 05/20/2006