Cheating with Gambling Devices in Nevada

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 What Is Legal Gambling?

Gambling in the United States is an activity that is regulated by both the federal government and individual states. Although the state laws that govern gambling may vary, there are federal laws that prohibit certain forms of gambling in all states.

It is important to note that when the federal government prohibits certain types of gambling, the states are required to follow those federal laws because federal laws trump state laws. There are many states, however, that do have some types of legal gambling.

The exact legal definition of legal gambling may vary depending on the state. Typically, however, an individual is engaging in gambling if they risk something of value on the outcome of a game of chance or an understanding that they will receive something of value in the event a specific outcome occurs.

Gambling does not include certain business transactions that are based on contract law, including the purchase of:

  • Stocks;
  • Securities;
  • Life insurance;
  • Health or accident insurance.

Legal gambling is defined by state statute. What is classified as legal gambling will be referenced specifically in these laws.

In Nevada, for example, there are many types of gambling that are considered legal because they are specifically mentioned in the state statutes. Other states, however, may consider the same activity a form of illegal gambling.

One of the most common types of gambling in the U.S. is the state lottery system. In addition to specifically stating what activities are considered to be legal gambling, a state will also usually place an age restriction upon individuals who are allowed to participate in gambling activities.

In the majority of states, it is illegal for a minor to gamble or to play a game of chance, which includes:

  • Betting on professional or college sports;
  • Participating in poker games;
  • Betting on school sports.

The majority of states require that individuals be over the age of majority in order to participate in gambling activities. There are some states that require individuals to be over the age of 21, but other states only require individuals to be over the age of 18.

What Is Illegal Gambling?

As previously noted, both federal and state laws govern what is classified as illegal gambling. Federal laws define illegal gambling activities as any gambling that:

  • Is conducted in violation of a state law or a political subdivision of the state where it occurs;
  • Involves five or more individuals who conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, or own all or part of such business;
  • Has been or remained in continuous operation for a period in excess of thirty days or has a gross revenue of $2,000 or more in any single day.

Federal law governs nearly every form of gambling and has an influence on almost every aspect of gambling law. Additionally, federal laws have been drafted to govern forms of gambling law that states are not able to regulate fully.

Common issues related to gambling that are regulated by federal law include:

  • The possession and transportation of gambling paraphernalia or gambling devices across state lines;
  • Gambling that involves betting on sports in states other than the state in which the sport is actually occurring;
  • Where and how certain types of bets can be made;
  • Internet gambling, such as online casinos or fantasy sports.

All states are permitted to enact their own laws, regulations, and prohibitions on what types of gambling are considered to be legal in the state as long as those laws follow federal regulations. As long as the state gambling law does not conflict with the federal gambling law, the state can enact its own set of laws governing gambling.

What Are Some Factors States Consider When Deciding Whether Gambling Is Legal?

In deciding whether or not to make a form of gambling legal or illegal, a state will consider a variety of factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Whether or not the game is a game of skill or chance;
    • A game of skill is generally given more leniency than a game of chance;
  • Whether or not all gamblers are on equal footing;
    • If there are no odds that favor the house and no house income, the gambling act is more likely to be considered legal;
  • How high the stakes are in the game;
    • Games that only cost pennies to play are going to be more likely to be legal than games that have higher amounts of money at stake;
  • Where the gambling is taking place;
    • An individual gambling in their own private home will be more likely to be legal than gambling in a public place.

What Are the Penalties for Violating Gambling Laws?

Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the gambling activity, the penalties for violating gambling laws may be severe. If an individual violates federal or state gambling laws, they may face one of the following penalties or a combination thereof:

  • Severe criminal fines;
  • Imprisonment;
  • Misdemeanor charges;
  • Forfeiture of all of the winnings that are related to the gambling venture;
  • Conviction of a felony, resulting in other additional penalties such as:
    • Loss of professional licensure;
    • Loss of the right to possess a firearm;
    • Loss of the right to vote.

What Is Considered Cheating at Gambling in Nevada?

In Nevada, a criminal charge of cheating at gambling is the unlawful act of manipulating or altering a game of chance in an individual’s favor. There are several Nevada laws enacted to prevent individuals from cheating at gambling.

For example, gambling fraud is an illegal act involving deception by a gambling organization or another individual related to a bet, device, or game.

What Is a Cheating Device in Gambling?

In gambling, a cheating device is any outside device that is used, designed, or created to provide an individual an advantage in a casino game. These types of devices may achieve these results by:

  • Projecting or changing an outcome;
  • Analyzing gambling probabilities;
  • Giving an individual a strategy in any type of casino game;
  • Keeping track of cards.

Is Using a Cheating Device the Same as Using Counterfeit Chips?

No, using a cheating device is not the same as using counterfeit chips. In Nevada, using counterfeit chips means recreating any type of casino wagering instrument to use at a casino.

Wagering instruments include:

  • Chips;
  • Wagering credits;
  • Tokens.

Are Teaching People How to Cheat and Using a Cheating Device the Same Crime in Nevada?

Although teaching individuals to cheat and using a cheating device have the same criminal punishments in Nevada, they are not the same offense. Teaching an individual how to cheat is defined as attempting to or actually teaching an individual how to cheat by showing them how to use a cheating device.

What Is the Punishment for a Conviction of Using a Cheating Device?

The use of a cheating device in Nevada is a Category B felony. If an individual is convicted of this offense, the criminal punishment they may face includes:

  • One to six years in prison;
  • $10,000 fine;
  • Fine and prison time.

For a first-time conviction, an individual may be able to be placed on probation as an alternative to receiving a prison sentence. However, probation will not always be available for any subsequent convictions of using a cheating device.

Should I Contact a Lawyer About My Criminal Case?

If you have been charged with using a cheating device in Nevada, it is essential to consult with a Nevada criminal lawyer. A felony conviction is a very serious issue. It may result in consequences to your criminal record as well as your personal life, including loss of custody or visitation of your children and not being able to obtain certain types of employment.

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