Many different games are played for money around the country every day. For example, professional poker players can take part in televised tournaments. However, some forms of gambling are illegal in California and may be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 330: Gaming.
Go over some of California’s regulations on gambling right here with the Simmrin Law Group. You can focus on how the state defines gaming and common penalties for a gaming conviction.
Defining Gaming in the State of California
California uses PC 330 to define criminal acts of gaming. According to this penal code, individuals are forbidden from engaging or taking part in “prohibited games.” Individuals can face criminal charges if they are playing for hire or for enjoyment.
Go Over Prohibited Games in California
There are two main categories of prohibited games in California:
- Banking Games. Banking games have a bank (sometimes called the “house”) that engages in the game. The bank (or house) gathers money from losers and pays out the game’s winners.
- Percentage Games. Percentage games are chance based. There is a “house” for percentage games that gather money based off of total winnings in the game or as a percentage of all bets made.
The state has set out a list of common banking and percentage games, including:
- Rouge et Noire
Note that this list is not considered comprehensive. Other games may be treated as banking or percentage games in the state of California.
Ways to Participate in a Prohibited Game in California
We mentioned that taking part in a banking or percentage game is treated as an illegal activity in California’s court system. The state uses clear guidelines to define the specific gaming actions forbidden legally. Individuals may be prosecuted for:
- Conducting a Game
- Opening or Carrying on a Game
- Playing a Game
- Dealing a Game
Exceptions to California’s Gaming Law
California set forth one exception to PC 330. Individuals may legally participate in a banking or percentage game if it involves a charitable bingo game. Note that this exception will only apply if the game is held in a county or city that authorizes charitable bingo games.
Additionally, the game must follow the following regulations:
- Proceeds of the Game Must Go Only to Charity
- Minors Are Not Allowed to Take Part
- Profits, Wages, or Salaries Must Not Be Provided to Participants
- Members of the Public Must be Allowed to Participate
- A Tax-Exempt Charitable Organization Must Conduct the Game
Finally, these bingo games can only be held on property:
- Leased by a Charitable Organization
- Owned by a Charitable Organization OR
- Donated to a Charitable Organization
California’s Penalties for a Gaming Conviction
Individuals who are charged with gaming may face misdemeanor charges. The penalties for a misdemeanor gaming conviction can include:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months
Note that PC 330 is not the only law used to prosecute acts of gambling in California. Some individuals may also be charged under:
- California Penal Code Section 332: Gambling Fraud
- California Penal Code Section 337(a): Pool Selling / Bookmaking / Wagering
Fraud charges in California can be especially serious, even though they are considered white collar crimes by the state.
Consider Legal Defenses to Gaming Accusations
There are a number of common legal defenses that can be used to handle gaming accusations in California. Depending upon your situation, you may be able to build a case by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. A legal professional can argue:
You Weren’t Playing a Banking or Percentage Game
All games of chance aren’t immediately prohibited under the legal codes in California. As long as you are not playing a game where the bank or house receives some of the winnings, you may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 330.
You Were Playing an Allowed Charitable Game
As we mentioned, California makes exceptions for certain banking or percentage games that are played for charity. If you were taking part in a charitable bingo game that met the state’s guidelines, you should not be convicted for gaming.
Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer About Gaming Charges
California Penal Code Section 330: Gaming charges can be difficult to handle on your own. Fortunately, you can get help today from the Simmrin Law Group. Reach out to our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers now by calling (310) 896-2723 or completing our online contact form.
Start focusing on your defense today with a FREE initial case evaluation.