The United States has numerous laws on the books relating to gambling. 18 U.S.C. §§ 1081-1084 define what gambling is, and how it is prohibited. 18 U.S.C. §1082 states that (a) it is unlawful for any citizen or resident of the United States, or any other person who is on an American vessel or is otherwise under or within the jurisdiction of the United States either directly or indirectly (1) to set up, operate, or own or hold any interest in any gambling ship or any gambling establishment on any gambling ship; or (2) in pursuance of the operation of any gambling establishment on any gambling ship, to conduct or deal any gambling game, or to conduct or to conduct or operate any gambling device, or to induce, entice, solicit, or permit any person to bet or play at any such establishment, if such gambling ship is on the high seas, or is an American vessel or otherwise under or within the jurisdiction of the United States, and is not within the jurisdiction of any State.
It further states that (b) whoever violates the provisions in subsection (a) shall be fined and/or imprisoned for not more than two years; and (c) whoever, being (1) the owner of an American vessel, or (2) within the jurisdiction of the United States, or (3) the owner of any vessel and being an American citizen, shall use, or knowingly permit the use of, such vessel in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1082 shall, in addition to any other penalties provided by this chapter, forfeit such vessel, together with her tackle, apparel, and furniture, to the United States.
The second statute concerning gambling is 18 U.S.C. §1083, which is a corollary of 18 U.S.C. §1082. It states that it shall be unlawful to operate or use, or to permit the operation or use of, a vessel for the carriage or transportation, or for any part of the carriage or transportation, either directly or indirectly, of any passengers, for hire or otherwise, between a point or place within the United States and a gambling ship which is not within the jurisdiction of any State. This section does not apply to any carriage or transportation to or from a vessel in case of emergency involving the safety or protection of life or property. Section (b) states: The Secretary of the Treasury shall prescribe necessary and reasonable rules and regulations to enforce this section and to prevent violations of its provisions. For the operation or use of any vessel in violation of this section or of any rule or regulation issued hereunder, the owner or charterer of such vessel shall be subject to a civil penalty of $200 for each passenger carried or transported in violation of such provisions, and the master or other person in charge of such vessel shall be subject to a civil penalty of $300. Such penalty shall constitute a lien on such vessel, and proceedings to enforce such lien may be brought summarily by way of libel in any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof. The Secretary of the Treasury may mitigate or remit any of the penalties provided by this section on such terms as he deems proper.
Finally, 18 U.S.C. §1084 concerns the transferring of wagering information across state lines. It states: (a) whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Subsections (b) states that the statute does not prevent the transmission of information on sporting events or contests, or for the transmission of assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest from a State or foreign country where betting on sporting events or contests is legal into a State or foreign country where betting on sporting events or contests is legal.
There are other statutes in the United States code that, either directly or indirectly regulate gambling. Many of the laws were enacted in the mid twentieth century to combat the power and influence of organized crime. Laws such as Racketeering, Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statutes aimed at combating organized crime in legitimate organization such as casinos in Nevada. The Bank Secrecy Act requires casinos to report transactions larger than $10,000.00 to the Internal Revenue Service. This law was aimed at preventing money laundering by criminal organizations.
While the laws are primarily concerned with stemming the illegal operation of gambling facilities by organized crime, people not involved in organized crime can be prosecuted as well. If you have been charged with any of the various gambling-related violations, you need a skilled criminal lawyer Arlington TX relies on on your side. You need an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in defending criminal charges. Before you speak with the authorities, call an attorney today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into gambling and the criminal law associated with it.