The criminal laws of New York prohibit illegal gambling operations. These laws do not criminalize placing bets or participating in gambling as a player for personal profit or enjoyment. Even though those involved with illegal gambling businesses may generally be charged with either misdemeanor or felony level gambling offenses — often at the discretion of a prosecutor — regardless of their classification, these are still serious crimes that can result in jail or prison time for even first-time offenders.
Possession of a Betting Machine
Possession of a Gambling Device is punishable by up to one year in jail as a Class A misdemeanor.
A person is guilty of this crime if, with knowledge of its nature, he or she manufactures, sells, transports, places, or possesses, or conducts or negotiates any transaction relating to the ownership, custody, or use of a slot machine or other gambling device with the intent that it will be used to promote illegal gambling activity.
New York law provides a legal presumption regarding the element of knowing possession of illegal gambling records or devices in relation to gambling crimes.
The statute stipulates that proof of possession of any gambling device or record referred to by the crime at hand is presumptive evidence of the accused’s knowledge of the nature or contents of such items.
There are Defenses to Charges of Illegal Gambling
There are a number of potential defenses to illegal gambling charges that a New York City illegal gambling attorney can present in court. Obviously, the availability of a defense against these charges depends on the evidence in a particular case.
First, since New York does not punish those who, for their own (potential) profit or pleasure, place bets or play games of chance with unlicensed individuals or entities or unsanctioned locations, it is a viable defense to assert that one was merely a player or customer of an illegal gambling operation. In fact, the statute itself provides a defense for those who possess gambling records that were neither used nor intended to be used in the operation or promotion of a bookmaking or insurance scheme.
Second, in prosecutions for possession of gambling records or devices, the statute provides a defense if the device, typically a slot machine or similar, is more than 30 years old, an antique, was possessed within the accused’s residence, was being transported to a jurisdiction where such devices are legal, was used to train persons in the maintenance and repair of such machines, or otherwise was not used or intended to be used in the operation or promotion of unlawful gambling.
Third, for any crime that requires proof of possession of an item, the accused’s connection to the item may be contested.
The state may be unable to establish possession without evidence of actual, physical possession of the illegal substance.
Lastly, ignorance of the connection between the funds collected and bookmaking or gambling operations is sometimes a valid defense. A person may be asked to help collect money from another for a variety of reasons unrelated to a gambling debt owed to a principal.
Contact a Skilled New York City Illegal Gambling Lawyer Immediately
The Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald is a criminal defense law firm that represents clients in Orange County, New York. The firm’s primary practice areas include unlawful distribution of gaming equipment and casino-related offenses. Attorney Greenwald has represented clients in both state and federal courts, and has successfully obtained dismissals and acquittals in numerous cases. He has also represented clients in appeals before the New York State Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If you have been charged with a crime related to gambling, you need an experienced attorney who will aggressively defend your rights. Contact the Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald today to schedule a free consultation.