Gambling and Internet gambling are illegal in the United States, except in lawfully recognized Indian gaming facilities, certain gaming cruises or ships, and in states where gaming has been legalized (Nevada and South Dakota). While some gaming is permitted in Oklahoma, it is limited by statute. Except when gambling has been expressly permitted and regulated by law, you should consider that gambling is probably illegal. We represent those charged with violations of state and federal gambling laws.

Federal Gambling Crimes

Title 18, Section 1955, is the principal provision concerning illegal gambling in the United States.  Internet gambling is also prohibited by Title 31, Section 5363. When gambling allegations are filed, it is common to include other crimes such as conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371), racketeering or RICO (18 U.S.C. §§ 1951-1960), money laundering (§ 1956) or engaging in an monetary transactions derived from specified unlawful conduct (§ 1957). We have set forth some of the primary federal statutes prohibiting gambling in the U.S.:

§ 1955 Illegal Gambling Businesses

(a) Whoever conducts, finances, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an illegal gambling business shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. (b) As used in this section– (1) “illegal gambling business” means a gambling business which– (i) is a violation of the law of a State or political subdivision in which it is conducted; (ii) involves five or more persons who conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, or own all or part of such business; and (iii) has been or remains in substantially continuous operation for a period in excess of thirty days or has a gross revenue of $2,000 in any single day. (2) “gambling” includes but is not limited to pool-selling, bookmaking, maintaining slot machines, roulette wheels or dice tables, and conducting lotteries, policy, bolita or numbers games, or selling chances therein. (3) “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession of the United States. (c) If five or more persons conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, or own all or part of a gambling business and such business operates for two or more successive days, then, for the purpose of obtaining warrants for arrests, interceptions, and other searches and seizures, probable cause that the business receives gross revenue in excess of $2,000 in any single day shall be deemed to have been established. (d) Any property, including money, used in violation of the provisions of this section may be seized and forfeited to the United States.

All provisions of law relating to the seizures, summary, and judicial forfeiture procedures, and condemnation of vessels, vehicles, merchandise, and baggage for violation of the customs laws; the disposition of such vessels, vehicles, merchandise, and baggage or the proceeds from such sale; the remission or mitigation of such forfeitures; and the compromise of claims and the award of compensation to informers in respect of such forfeitures shall apply to seizures and forfeitures incurred or alleged to have been incurred under the provisions of this section, insofar as applicable and not inconsistent with such provisions. Such duties as are imposed upon the collector of customs or any other person in respect to the seizure and forfeiture of vessels, vehicles, merchandise, and baggage under the customs laws shall be performed with respect to seizures and forfeitures of property used or intended for use in violation of this section by such officers, agents, or other persons as may be designated for that purpose by the Attorney General. (e) This section shall not apply to any bingo game, lottery, or similar game of chance conducted by an organization exempt from tax under paragraph (3) of subsection (c) of section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, if no part of the gross receipts derived from such activity inures to the benefit of any private shareholder, member, or employee of such organization except as compensation for actual expenses incurred by him in the conduct of such activity.

§ 3702 Sports Betting

Title 28, § 3702, makes sports gambling on amateur and professional sports a crime. The law provides: It shall be unlawful for – (1) a governmental entity to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law or compact, or (2) a person to sponsor, operate, advertise, or promote, pursuant to the law or compact of a governmental entity, a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based, directly or indirectly (through the use of geographical references or otherwise), on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games.

§ 1084 Illegal Use of Wire Communications

Title 18 U.S.C. § 1084 (a) prohibits the use of wire communication facilities (i.e., the Internet or telephone or fax) to facilitate gambling.  That section reads: Transmission of wagering information – 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.

§ 5363 Accepting Financial Instruments for Unlawful Internet Gambling

Title 31 U.S.C. § 5363, provides: No person engaged in the business of betting or wagering may knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling– (1) credit, or the proceeds of credit, extended to or on behalf of such other person (including credit extended through the use of a credit card); (2) an electronic fund transfer, or funds transmitted by or through a money transmitting business, or the proceeds of an electronic fund transfer or money transmitting service, from or on behalf of such other person; (3) any check, draft, or similar instrument which is drawn by or on behalf of such other person and is drawn on or payable at or through any financial institution; or (4) the proceeds of any other form of financial transaction, as the Secretary and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System may jointly prescribe by regulation, which involves a financial institution as a payor or financial intermediary on behalf of or for the benefit of such other person.

§ 1960 Illegal Money Transmitting Business Act

Congress, concerned that those engaged in money laundering were using money transmitting services rather than traditional financial institutions, passed the Illegal Money Transmitting Business Act of 1992, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1960. That law makes it a crime in the United States to ” knowingly conduct, control, manage, supervise, direct, or own all or part of an unlicensed money transmitting business. Such activity if convicted shall result in fines and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years.”

§§ 1956-1957 Money Laundering

Money laundering and engaging in monetary transactions from specified illegal activity is a federal crime as defined in 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956 and 1957. Punishment for each shall be up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000 or up to twice the amount of the money laundered.

§ 1301 Importing or transporting lottery tickets

It is a crime to import foreign lottery tickets into the U.S. that involves any “paper, certificate, or instrument purporting to be or to represent a ticket, chance, share, or interest in or dependent upon the event of a lottery, gift enterprise, or similar scheme, offering prizes dependent in whole or in part upon lot or chance . . .” Such crime is punishable by fine or imprisonment of not more than two years, or both. Horse Racing Legal–State by State

Pursuant to the Interstate Horse Racing Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 3001 et seq, horse racing is governed state by state. No other state can prohibit another state from regulating its own horse racing. The State Horse Racing Commission regulates horse racing in Oklahoma.

§§ 1962-1963 Racketeering & RICO

It is a federal crime to  engage in a business or to receive or possess property constituting or derived from any proceeds from  racketeering activity in violation of  18 U.S.C.A. § 1962. This is commonly referenced as RICO activity (short for Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations).  Penalties range up to 20 years.

There are other federal and state gambling or gaming laws and regulations that are beyond the scope of this web page. This page is intended to provide information concerning the specified federal gambling laws.

State Gambling Crimes

The State of Oklahoma also prohibits gambling except as expressly provided by law.

§ 941 Illegal Gambling

Except as provided in the Oklahoma Charity Games Act (3A Okla. Stat. §§ 401 et seq.), every person who opens, or causes to be opened, or who conducts, whether for hire or not, or carries on either poker, roulette, craps or any banking or percentage, or any gambling game played with dice, cards or any device, for money, checks, credits, or any representatives of value, or who either as owner or employee, whether for hire or not, deals for those engaged in any such game, shall be guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), nor more than Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00), and by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years.

§ 982 Commercial Gambling

A. Commercial gambling is: 1. Operating or receiving all or part of the earnings of a gambling place; 2. Receiving, recording or forwarding bets or offers to bet or, with intent to receive, record or forward bets or offers to bet, possessing facilities to do so; 3. For gain, becoming a custodian of anything of value bet or offered to be bet; 4. Conducting a lottery or with intent to conduct a lottery possessing facilities to do so; 5. Setting up for use or collecting the proceeds of any gambling device; or 6. Alone or with others, owning, controlling, managing or financing a gambling business. B. Any person found guilty of commercial gambling shall be guilty of a felony and punished by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years or a fine of not more than Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

§ 991 Illegal Horse Racing & Betting

Except as provided in the Oklahoma Horse Racing Act, it is unlawful for any person, association or corporation to bet or wager on the result of speed or power of endurance of animals or beasts (i.e., horse and dog racing) or to set up or occupy any room, tent or building t permit such gambling activity. Some violations of § 991 are misdemeanors, while the “operation” of the gambling facility is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

 

 

 

EXPERIENCED LAWYERS Call the Wyatt Law Office at 405.234.5500 for your Oklahoma Gambling & Gaming Crimes Lawyers.  Your future is our business.