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Q: How/Why Is Gambling Illegal? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: How/Why Is Gambling Illegal?
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: simul-ga
List Price: $6.00
Posted: 24 Apr 2002 08:09 PDT
Expires: 24 May 2002 08:09 PDT
Question ID: 3350
What types of gambling are illegal? 
Is it illegal to play poker for money with friends? 
How about gambling for money in a public area, like in a park or a restaraunt? 
What statutes cover gambling in New York State, and can I find them online? 
Are there federal gambling laws? 
Are there some comprehensive books or websites on gambling laws and  
good "layman's" interpretations of gambling laws? 
Basically I'd like to find out exactly what's legal and what's not... 
Subject: Re: How/Why Is Gambling Illegal?
Answered By: zrica-ga on 24 Apr 2002 13:25 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello, simul. 

New York is a state where gambling is specificially prohibited in the State 
Constitution. Article 1, Section 9 states: 

"No lottery or the sale of lottery  tickets, pool-selling, book-making, or any 
other kind of gambling, except lotteries operated by  the state ... and except 
pari-mutuel betting on horse races as may be prescribed by the legislature ... 
shall hereafter be authorized or allowed within this state; and the legislature 
shall pass appropriate laws to prevent offenses against any of the provisions 
of this section."

These "appropriate laws" are detailed in New York Penal Law, Article 140, 
225.00 -- Gambling offenses;  definitions of terms. They do not specifically 
mention gambling as an offense. Rather, it is illegal to promoting gambling, to 
possess gambling records, and to possess gambling devices.

"Games of chance" are detailed in Chapter 213. Bingo for senior citizens, for 
example, is one exception to the law.

Another exception to New York's anti-gambling law are Indian Casinos. These 
establishments fall under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal 
law "permitting federally recognized Indian tribes the ability to conduct 
gaming activities under certain circumstances. This law allows traditional 
Indian gaming, bingo, pull tabs, lotto, punch boards, tip jars, and certain 
card games on tribal land."

Illegal to Play with Friends?
As mentioned before, gambling itself is not specifically illegal in New York's 
Penal Law. You could, however, be found in possession of promoting gambling or 
possesing gambling records or devices. New York Penal Law, Chapter 40,  Section 
240.35 details gambling in a public place, or "a place to which the public or a 
substantial group of persons has access, and includes, but is not limited to, 
highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of amusement, parks, 
playgrounds, and hallways, lobbies and other portions of apartment houses and 
hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence."  If 
you are playing poker in the park, you could be charged with loitering, as it 
is illegal to "loiter or remain in a public place for the purpose of gambling 
with cards, dice or other gambling paraphernalia."

Federal gambling laws? 
Over the years, the Federal goverment has passed a number of laws to help state 
governments enforce their anti-gambling laws. These include:

1949 -  ban on gambling on ships

1961 - Wire Act -- prohibits transmission of wagering information in interstate 
or foreign bets

1970 - Prohibition of illegal gambling businesses -- makes violation of a state 
anti-gambling law a federal crime

1992 - “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act” -- unlawful for any 
government, including states and tribes, to authorize legal wagers that are 
based in any way on sports events. (Nevada, Delaware, and Oregon grandfathered 

And, more recently, the sticky issue of internet gambling:
The Internet Prohibition Act, currently in Congress. Aims to prevent the use of 
certain bank instruments for Internet gambling.

Also related to New York and internet gambling, in 1999, a New York company 
with servers in Antigua, where gaming is legal, was found guilty of breaking 
state laws prohibit taking wagers via phone lines.

Here are a few articles on law as it applies to the internet and New York:

Analysis of Internet Gambling Under New York Law
(This is also a good site for general New York gambling law.)

Internet Gambling Regulation

Other Helpful Sites

American Gaming Association

New York State Racing and Wagering Board

Search Terms
gaming law
New York gaming law
internet gambling
New York penal law


Hope this helps you out,

simul-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: How/Why Is Gambling Illegal?
From: mvguy-ga on 24 Apr 2002 15:06 PDT
New York also has a state lottery:

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