Poker in New York: Legalities

Discussion in 'Games of Chance' started by JackT, Apr 12, 2006.

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  1. Waterclone

    Waterclone Go ahead. Try me.

    Messages:
    3,158
    Last year, there was a night that several clubs got raided. The next day, the DA was quoted in some paper (don't remember which) as saying that they players were not doing anything illegal and were not in danger. They were just after the people who worked the club.

    More than once I have been at clubs when they were raided. It went down exactly that way. The cops were just there for the people working there... And the money.

    But they did search everyone, and take everyone's id. Presumable to check everyone for outstanding warrants. Kept the players 2 to 3 hours.

    And I pity the morons who bring any sort of weapon or drug to such a place. Just asking for trouble.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2006
  2. kcdark

    kcdark

    Messages:
    136
    good info. but i have given up on trying to find a game in nyc. too risky right now.
  3. JackT

    JackT

    Messages:
    2,351
    **The following is NOT intended to be legal advice -- I'm just trying to spark discussion -- For any application of this stuff to the real world, please consult an attorney **

    The laws affecting Poker in New York State are constitutional and statutory in nature --

    Article 1, Section 9 of the New York State Constitution states that:

    "[N]o lottery or the sale of lottery tickets, pool-selling, book-making or any other kind of gambling [except state-run lotteries and state-sponsored pari-mutuel betting on horse races] shall hereafter be authorized or allowed within this state; and the legislature shall pass appropriate laws to prevent offenses against any of the provisions of this section."

    (note: there are a couple of carve-outs for bingo and very small stakes "casino nights" run by charitable and/or not-for-profit organizations)


    To determine what type of gambling activity is considered a crime, one needs to look at NY Penal Law Section 225, which enumerates the following crimes:

    -- Promoting gambling, second degree - when a person knowingly advances or profits from unlawful gambling activity. (Class A misdemeanor.)
    -- Promoting gambling, first degree. (Class E felony.)
    -- Possession of gambling records, second degree. (Class A misdemeanor.)
    -- Possession of gambling records, first degree. (Class E felony.)
    -- Possession of a gambling device. (Class A misdemeanor.)

    These criminal statutes are directed to the facilitators of gambling: bookies, owners of card clubs, their staff, etc., rather than "players."

    Section 225.00(3) defines "Player" as:

    "a person who engages in any form of gambling solely as a contestant or bettor, without receiving or becoming entitled to receive any profit therefrom other than personal gambling winnings, and without otherwise rendering any material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation of the particular gambling activity. 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. A person who engages in "bookmaking", as defined in this section is not a "player.""

    So although mere "players" can't be hit with "possession of a gambling device" or "promotion of gambling", because poker chips are considered "gambling devices", and thus are evidence of the CARDROOM OPERATOR, OWNERS, and STAFF's crime, when a bust occurs all chips are seized as evidence and nobody gets cashed out.