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Gambling Crimes

New York Gambling Crimes: NY PL Article 225

While poker may have become a spectator sport on ESPN for criminal lawyers, judges and prosecutors alike, New York City is not Atlantic City. You can certainly bet on horses, the NFL, NBA, boxing or any other sport in Las Vegas, but the same cannot be said in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Westchester County or any other New York municipality. Although the laws involving gambling in New York may become more liberal in years to come, as they stand now, crimes and arrests for offenses such as Promoting Gambling and Possession of Gambling Records can easily fall within the realm of felony prosecutions. Compounding matters for the would be bookie or gambling crew, Assistant District Attorneys routinely charge those accused of New York gambling crimes with much more serious offenses involving Enterprise Corruption and Money Laundering. If a felony arrest, indictment or conviction was not bad enough, if prosecutors can tie you to an arm’s length or overseas “syndicate,” you can face one of these class B felony crimes and their mandatory terms of imprisonment of up to twenty five years.


Before reviewing the specific statutes relating to the specific crimes, you must first understand the terms that are the backbone of New York’s gambling offenses. Not a complete list or a substitute for an in depth review with your New York criminal defense attorney or New York Gambling Crimes lawyer (or the actual statute for that matter), the following are definitions that you should comprehend to some extent:

Contest of Chance: Simply, any game or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance (even if skill also a factor)

Gambling: You engage in gambling when you risk something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance upon an agreement that you will receive something of value in the event of a particular result.

Player: If you engage in gambling as a contestant or bettor (solely, of course) who does not profit outside of your own personal winnings and does not otherwise render material assistance to a gambling establishment, you are considered a player. A person who gambles at a social game of chance on equal terms with the other participants therein does not otherwise render material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation thereof by performing, without fee or remuneration, acts directed toward the arrangement or facilitation of the game, such as inviting persons to play, permitting the use of premises therefor and supplying cards or other equipment used therein.

Bookmaking: Bookmaking means to advance from gambling by unlawfully accepting bets as a business (as opposed to in a casual or personal fashion) upon future contingent bets. If you are a bookmaker you are not also a player.

Advance from Gambling Activity: You advance from gambling activity when, not as a player, you materially aid any form of gambling. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to, conduct directed toward the creation or establishment of the particular game, contest, scheme, device or activity involved, toward the acquisition or maintenance of premises, paraphernalia, equipment or apparatus therefor, toward the solicitation or inducement of persons to participate therein, toward the actual conduct of the playing phases thereof, toward the arrangement of any of its financial or recording phases, or toward any other phase of its operation. One advances gambling activity when, having substantial proprietary or other authoritative control over premises being used with his knowledge for purposes of gambling activity, he permits such to occur or continue or makes no effort to prevent its occurrence or continuation.

Profit from Gambling Activity: If you receive money or other property pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person whereby he or she participates or is to participate in the proceeds of gambling activity, you have profited from gambling activity.

Something of Value: It speaks for itself.

Gambling Device: Any device or equipment which is used or usable in the playing phases of any gambling activity, whether such activity consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine. Lottery tickets, policy slips and other items used in the playing phases of lottery and policy schemes are not gambling devices

Lottery: Means an unlawful gambling scheme in which (a) the players pay or agree to pay something of value for chances, represented and differentiated by numbers or by combinations of numbers or by some other media, one or more of which chances are to be designated the winning ones; and (b) the winning chances are to be determined by a drawing or by some other method based upon the element of chance; and (c) the holders of the winning chances are to receive something of value provided, however, that in no event shall the provisions of this subdivision be construed to include a raffle as such term is defined in


Not applicable to all New York gambling crimes, there are some legal presumptions that a jury or judge can use against you. One of the most significant of those presumptions is found in New York Penal Law 225.35. The New York Penal Law provides that proof of possession of any gambling device or of any gambling record specified in sections 225.15 and 225.20, is presumptive evidence of possession thereof with knowledge of its character or contents


The criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan and Federal prosecutors at Saland Law will tell you that there is no “one size fits all” defense to a New York gambling arrest. While culpability as an accomplice allows the police and prosecutors to charge you with the same crime whether you take the bets, pay the players or mastermind a gambling organization, there are certain defenses found both in the criminal statutes as well as in the evidence itself. Remember, it is not merely New York gambling crimes you need to account for, but the potentially devastating crimes in terms of your liberty and incarceration such as Enterprise Corruption and Money Laundering.

Whatever the allegation may be and whatever defense you and your criminal defense lawyer determine is best for your particular circumstance, take the time to educate yourself and prepare to challenge a prosecutor’s search warrant, wiretap, indictment or felony complaint. Not doing so can, and often does, result in a permanent felony record and years of prison. Contact Saland Law and let our experience, advocacy and knowledge work for you.

Contact the New York gambling defense attorneys and former New York prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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