New York Penal Law § 225.30: Possession of a gambling device

New York has strict laws regulating gambling. One rule prohibits the possession of devices that can be used to participate in unlawful gambling. Examples of such devices include video poker machines, roulette wheels, slot machines or devices that have random number generators. Under New York Penal Law § 225.30 you could be charged with possession of a gambling device if you manufacture, possess, transport or sell a slot machine, other gambling device, or a coin operated device used to advance unlawful gambling activity. A "gambling device" is defined as any device or equipment which is used in the playing phases of any gambling activity. Lottery tickets and other items used in playing the lottery are not gambling devices

Example

A "Broadway" video game machine was on the premises of and operated by Bubba Restaurant. The game rewarded a winning player with additional games free of charge. The additional games are considered something of value, making the video machine a gambling device. Bubba Restaurant, Inc. v. New York State Liquor Authority, 554 N.Y.S.2d 189 (N. Y. A. D. 1 Dept., 1990)

Related Offenses
  1. Promoting gambling in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 225.05
  2. Promoting gambling in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 225.10
  3. Possession of gambling records in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 225.15
  4. Possession of gambling records in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 225.20
Defenses

You are not guilty of possession of a gambling device if you have a device that allows you to participate in a game of chance, but does not give you anything of value in return. For example, in People v. Jun Feng, 946 N.Y.S.2d 68 (N.Y. Crim. Ct., 2012), the defendant had 2 video poker games on his premises. The machines accepted U.S. currency. However, there was no evidence presented that in return the machine gave the player anything of value. Thus, the defendants were found to not have committed possession of a gambling device based on having the video poker games.

Sentence

Possession of a gambling device is a Class A misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a jail term of up to 1 year, a probation term of 3 years, and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 225.30: Possession of a gambling device

a. A person is guilty of possession of a gambling device when, with knowledge of the character thereof, he or she manufactures, sells, transports, places or possesses, or conducts or negotiates any transaction affecting or designed to affect ownership, custody or use of:

  1. A slot machine, unless such possession is permitted pursuant to article nine-A of the general municipal law; or
  2. Any other gambling device, believing that the same is to be used in the advancement of unlawful gambling activity; or
  3. A coin operated gambling device with intent to use such device in the advancement of unlawful gambling activity.

b. Possession of a slot machine shall not be unlawful where such possession and use is pursuant to a gaming compact, duly executed by the governor and an Indian tribe or Nation, under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, as codified at 25 U.S.C. S 2701-2721 and 18 U.S.C S 1166-1168, where the use of such slot machine or machines is consistent with such gaming compact and where the state receives a negotiated percentage of the net drop (defined as gross money wagered after payout, but before expenses) from any such slot machine or machines.

c. Transportation and possession of a slot machine shall not be unlawful where such transportation and possession is necessary to facilitate the training of persons in the repair and reconditioning of such machines as are used or are to be used for operations in those casinos authorized pursuant to a tribal-state compact as provided for pursuant to § eleven hundred seventy-two of title fifteen of the United States Code in the state of New York.

New York Possession of a Gambling Device Lawyer

Even though possession of a gambling device is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still a crime. If you are convicted you could end up in jail. It is important that you are represented by someone with experience to ensure that your rights are protected. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of various types of crimes including both 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 gambling crimes in the following locations:

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