Legal Gambling vs. Illegal Gambling

Legal Gambling vs. Illegal Gambling
Legal Gambling vs. Illegal Gambling
When engaging in various types of gambling, the individual must understand what the state defines as legal and illegal to prevent possible charges or conviction for illegal activity in the state. Some states define certain activities as illegal because of the use of the internet while others will consider amateur gambling at home as illegal.


What Is Legal Gambling?

The definition of legal gambling usually requires a specific state’s reference. In Nevada, most forms of gambling are legal where all other states may consider the activity illegal. Most legal gambling throughout the entire United States occurs through state lotteries, scratch off stickers, bingo and similar forms of monetary exchanges. However, local activities such as poker parties in a professional area, underaged gambling with those under the age of 21, dogfights and human fight clubs are normally illegal. Some states may legalize certain activities to support colleges or for local businesses, and it is important to know the difference based on the state.

Normal Legal Gambling

In many states, the individual must pass his or her 21st year. For state lotteries and horse tracks, the legal age is usually eighteen. Casinos, video poker and social or charitable gambling are permissible within most states. However, video poker or machines such as the slots may require the person to exit the state to legally use the machine. Bingo or charitable events such as raffles are ordinary forms of gambling that states usually provide permission to participate in as long as the individual is over the age of eighteen. However, it is still important to check the local laws to prevent violations.

Racetracks and Social Gambling

There are public events through racetracks that are permissible by the state such as horse or dog races where individuals may arrive and bet on a number that corresponds to the animal. In the states that have these events, this type of gambling is legal in usual circumstances. Additional normal social gambling may include social gatherings that are private and proceed through betting on certain activities such as private poker sessions with social clubs or friends. These activities usually remain small and only affect those in the social circle without the need to publicize the event or attempt to charge a door fee.

Illegal Social Gambling

There are social gambling events that are illegal and could lead to an arrest for all attending. These usually take the place of private animal fights, attempts at amateur social gatherings that appear like casino activities and similar situations. If the host charges for entry and then proceeds to present a gambling affair with larger parties, this could constitute an amateur event similar to a casino even if the only game is poker. Others can violate the law by hosting racetrack events with betting similar to the public counterparts. Often, the private and smaller gatherings involve the injury or death of the animal.

Gambling Taxation

Any establishment that houses a gambling award that is at least $600 must report the winning to the Internal Revenue Service of the state along with the social security number of the recipient of the award. The resident of the state must then report the gambling revenue to the IRS as taxable income on both federal and state tax returns for the year the award transferred to the individual. Some states may have local laws with amounts lower than $600. It is important to remain aware of these necessary requirements to avoid incurring a tax violation in the state of residence.

Gambling by Computer

In most states, engaging in gambling activities online is illegal. Most states will prohibit computer gambling no matter what game the person plays. If the activity has a real-world exchange of money in some manner, it could constitute as gambling. This often extends to conducting of some form of business through a game, lottery or similar activity to include online slots where there exists a risk of monetary loss where the business gains a profit through access online. The conviction of these activities usually incurs a fine and time behind bars. Charges are usually for a minor misdemeanor unless the activity includes large amounts of funds.

Legal Help with Gambling

If the individual faces charges for illegal gambling that could penalize him or her with severe penalties, this person should hire a lawyer for a criminal defense. Usually, these crimes incur misdemeanor charges, but certain factors can and will increase the charges to felony class with the potential for incarceration.

Read more on this legal issue
Online Gambling – Are Players at Risk for Prosecution?
Wire Wager Act – What Is It?
Illegal Gambling – What Activities Qualify?
Bingo – Is It Considered Gambling?
Gambling in Texas – If Bingo and the Lottery Are Legal Why Not Betting on Sports?
Intersection between Illegal Gambling and Organized Crime
What Is Illegal Gambling?

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case.

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