New York Penal Law § 180.40: Sports bribing

Sports are very popular from the amateur level to the professional level. The legitimacy of sports contests depends on the integrity of those involved including athletes, coaches, trainers, managers, officials and anyone else working with the athletes or teams. It is expected that athletes give their best efforts to win and that officials officiate contests fairly. Unfortunately, sometimes those involved with sports are involved with bribery schemes that affect the outcome of the sporting event and compromise the integrity of the sport involved. In New York it is against the law to either offer a bribe or accept a bribe related to a sporting event. Under New York Penal Law § 180.40, you could be charged with sports bribing if:

  1. With the intent to influence a sports participant to not give his or her best effort, you confer or agree to confer a benefit upon that sports participant; or
  2. With the intent to influence a sports official to perform his or her duties improperly, you confer or agree to confer a benefit upon that sports official.

It is important to note that the definition of "sports participant" is not limited to just the athlete, but also to the coach, manager, trainer, or any other person directly associated with the player, contestant or team.

Example

Alexander is a professional gambler. He sees the opportunity to make a great deal of money if a college football team who is favored to win the game loses. Alexander approaches the quarterback and offers to pay him $50,000 if he performs just poorly enough to lose the game. Alexander then bets against the favored football team. The quarterback accepts the payment and fails to give his best effort in the game. Alexander could be charged with sports bribing.

Related Offenses
  1. Commercial bribe receiving in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 180.05
  2. Bribing a labor official: New York Penal Law § 180.15
Defenses

You would not be guilty of sports bribing if you give or offer to give a sports participant a gift to induce that person to win the sporting event. The sports bribing statute only applies to offering something of value to induce the sports participant to fail to give his or her best effort. In other words, it only applies if you try to get a sports participant to "throw" an game or contest.

Sentence

Sports bribing is a Class D felony. If you are convicted of this offense you could be sent to prison for up to 7 years. You could also receive a probation sentence of up to 5 years and be required to pay a substantial fine.

New York Penal Law § 180.40: Sports bribing

A person is guilty of sports bribing when he: 1. Confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a sports participant with intent to influence him not to give his best efforts in a sports contest; or 2. Confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a sports official with intent to influence him to perform his duties improperly.

New York Sports Bribing Lawyer

If you are under investigation for sports bribing, it is important that you have experienced representation. Sports bribing is a serious offense. If you are convicted you could end up serving a 7 year prison sentence. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of felonies and misdemeanors. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of bribery in the following locations:

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