Conspiracy is an inchoate crime. This means the crime did not in fact take place, but one person worked with another person or several people in planning to commit the crime. This planning to commit a crime is itself a crime, the crime of conspiracy.
Attempt is another inchoate crime, which occurs when a person takes a substantial step toward committing a crime but fails to complete it. They may be disrupted after taking a substantial step and failing to complete the crime. However, the step made with the necessary intent to commit the attempted crime is a crime of attempt.
In Nevada, attempting or conspiring to cheat at gambling is illegal. Cheating at gambling is altering or manipulating a game of chance so that a person is favored to win or profit from the game. It can be done, for example, by using cheating devices while gambling at a casino.
What Is Cheating at Gambling?
Cheating at gambling in Nevada is a category C felony. It is punished by a term of 1 to 5 years in a Nevada state prison, paying restitution, and paying a fine of up to $10,000. As noted above, the law also makes it a crime for a person to work with others in planning to commit the crime of cheating and to attempt to cheat at gambling.
Many cheating devices are for sale online, some with warnings that a person who uses them is likely to get caught by security personnel in a casino. Nonetheless, a person can obtain them easily. Some examples are as follows:
- Scrambled Dice: Scrambled dice are drilled-down dice to which weights have been added to make one side heavier for controlled rolling;
- Holdout Card Cheating: This is a device that holds cards secreted on a person and accessible for substituting cards more favorable to the person who uses them in a card game;
- Invisible Ink Barcode Marked Cards: A special deck of cards consisting of cards, the four edges of which are marked with invisible ink. The deck of marked cards can be read remotely by the poker cheating device to infer a card’s suit and value;
- The Slot Machine Remote Jackpotter: The sellers claim users can empty a slot machine by pushing a button. It is advertised as a hidden device, so casino surveillance cameras cannot detect it. It can be used on video poker machines as well.
Of course, if a person were caught using these devices in a casino in Las Vegas or another city in Nevada, they would likely be charged with attempting or conspiring to cheat at gambling.
What Is Conspiracy to Cheat?
As noted above, conspiracy to cheat at gambling is the making of an agreement between two or more people to work together to illegally alter a game of chance to increase the odds of winning or profiting in their favor.
What Is Attempting to Cheat?
Again, attempting to cheat is taking any substantial step toward cheating in gambling with the intent to cheat successfully. The cheating does not have to have been completed. Merely taking a significant step in cheating is itself a criminal offense.
What Kind of Actions Constitute Conspiracy or Attempt to Cheat at Gambling?
Under the law that prohibits conspiracy or attempting to cheat at gambling, a person can be accused of conspiring or attempting to:
- Cheat at gambling;
- Commit gambling fraud;
- Use counterfeit chips;
- Use a cheating device in gambling;
- Teach another person how to cheat at gambling;
- Sell equipment used for cheating in gambling.
What Are the Punishments for Conspiracy or Attempt to Cheat at Gambling?
Conspiracy can be charged as a class B felony or a gross misdemeanor. How it is charged depends on the offenses the perpetrators conspired to commit.
When conspirators attempt or complete the underlying offense, they could be charged with conspiracy and with the underlying offense or an attempt to complete the underlying offense. If they conspired and attempted or completed the crime of cheating at gambling, those are the crimes with which they could be charged.
As noted above, cheating in gambling in Nevada is a category C felony, punishable by a term of 1 to 5 years in a Nevada state prison, paying restitution, and paying a fine of up to $10,000. However, conspiracy to cheat at gambling is more likely to be charged as a gross misdemeanor. This would be punished by a term in the county jail for not more than 264 days, by payment of no more than $2,000, or by both a fine and a jail term.
How an attempt is charged and punished depends on the underlying offense that was attempted.
- If a person is convicted of an attempt to commit a category A felony, the attempt is punished as a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of 2 years and a maximum term of 20 years;
- If a person is convicted of an attempt to commit a category B felony for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 20 years, it is punished as a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of 1 year and a maximum term of 10 years;
- If a person is convicted of an attempt to commit a category B felony for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years or less, it is punished as a category C felony;
- If a person is convicted of attempting to commit a category C felony, it is punished as a category D felony or as a gross misdemeanor by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 364 days or payment of a fine of not more than $2,000, or by both payment of a fine and a jail term;
- If a person is convicted of attempting to commit a category D felony, it is punished as a category E felony or as a gross misdemeanor by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 364 days or by payment of a fine of not more than $2,000, or by both payment of a fine and imprisonment;
- If a person is convicted of an attempt to commit a category E felony, it is punished as a category E felony or as a gross misdemeanor by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 364 days or by payment of a fine of not more than $2,000, or by paying a fine and imprisonment.
Again, cheating in gambling is a Category C felony, so it is likely to be punished as a category D felony or gross misdemeanor.
Are There Any Defenses to Conspiracy and Attempt?
There are three defenses to a charge of conspiracy as follows:
The best defense to a charge of attempt is to contend that the step taken was not a substantial step toward committing the crime.
Do I Need the Help of a Lawyer with My Conspiracy or Attempt to Cheat Issue?
The law of attempt, conspiracy, and cheating at gambling is complicated. The penalties are potentially severe, possibly involving years in state prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
Consult a Nevada criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with conspiracy, attempt, or cheating at gambling. Your lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and identify possible defenses.