Have You Been Charged with Gambling in Georgia?
Georgia is one of the “least friendly gambling states” in the United States. The only types that are permitted in Georgia are lottery betting, bingo games, and raffles. If Georgians want to do anything more, they must cross state lines to do so. However, gambling still happens outside of the law in Georgia. If you or a loved one has been charged with gambling, contact our experienced Georgia criminal defense attorneys today.
What is Considered Gambling in Georgia?
According to O.C.G.A. §16-12-21, a person commits the crime of gambling when they:
Make a bet upon the partial or final result of any game or contest or upon the performance of any participant in such game or contest;
Make a bet upon the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or upon the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or
Play and bet for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, or balls.
Furthermore, O.C.G.A. §16-12-20 defines “bet” as an agreement that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value. While most instances of gambling occur when someone bets money, gambling can occur whenever a bet is made using anything of value. This thing of value is known as consideration.
The crime of gambling consists of elements of consideration, chance, and prize. Monte Carlo Parties, Ltd. v. Webb, 254 Ga. 508, (1984). It is important to note that intent is not a necessary element. It does not matter whether the accused intended to break state law. U.S. v. Hawes, 529 F2. 472, (1976).
Georgia Case Law
Georgia courts have found that a slot machine, known as a racehorse machine which required no skill to operate and which when played determined amount to be paid the player, was a gambling device, regardless of whether payment was through a pay-off slot or was made by the person in charge of the machine. Davis v. State, 77 Ga. App. 541, (1948).
In the case of Hargrove v. State, evidence of gambling devices at the scene of arrest at which dogfight was being held was sufficient for defendants to be convicted of gambling. 253 Ga. 450, (1984).
The court found in Gullatt v. State, that betting on dogs was gambling. 169 Ga. 538, (1929).
Georgia case law further established that even if the evidence is insufficient to establish that defendants' gambling operation was a “lottery” within meaning of commercial gambling statute, defendants could still be convicted of commercial gambling based on alternative allegation that they unlawfully and intentionally received and recorded bets and offers to bet and knowingly possessed or transferred tickets, papers, and other devices to serve as evidence of participation. Sparkman v. State, 209 Ga. App. 763, (1993).
The Penalty for Gambling in Georgia
A person convicted of gambling in Georgia will be charged with a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor convictions come with a penalty of a fine up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Contact an Experienced Georgia Gambling Lawyer Now
Georgia's gambling laws can be challenging to navigate because it is tough to distinguish between legal and illegal gambling activities. A conviction for gambling can have significant penalties on your life. It is in your best interest to speak to a gambling attorney in Georgia if you are charged with a gambling crime. Call now for a free case evaluation.