By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Gambling is controlled by Tex.Pen.C. 47.02. That statute states in relevant part, (a) A person commits an offense if he: (1) makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest; (2) makes a bet on the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or on the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or (3) plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device.
There are all sorts of defenses, however. The defenses are under subsection (b) and are if; (1) the actor engaged in gambling in a private place; (2) no person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and (3) except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants.
Additionally under subsection (c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor reasonably believed that the conduct: (1) was permitted under Chapter 2001, Occupations Code (bingo); or (2) was permitted under Chapter 2002, Occupations Code (charitable raffle);
Gambling is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500 only.
Tex.Pen.C. 47.03 covers gambling promotion. It is also a technical statute and you should read it for any and all offenses and exception, but mainly that statute makes it an offense to (1) operate or participate in the earnings of a gambling place (defined as “any real estate, building, room, tent, vehicle, boat, or other property whatsoever, one of the uses of which is the making or settling of bets, bookmaking, or the conducting of a lottery or the playing of gambling devices.”);
(2) engage in bookmaking (defined as either receiving and recording or to forwarding more than five bets or offers to bet in a period of 24 hours; receiving and recording or to forward bets or offers to bet totaling more than $1,000 in a period of 24 hours; or a scheme by three or more persons to receive, record, or forward a bet or an offer to bet.)
Gambling promotion is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000.
Keeping a Gambling Place
Tex.Pen.C. 47.04 makes it a crime for someone to knowingly use or permit another to use property owned or rented by him be used as a gambling place. It is, however, an affirmative defense if (1) the gambling was in a private place; (2) no person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and (3) except of the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants.
Keeping a gambling place is also a Class A Misdemeanor.
Again, the statute itself is very technical, has other exceptions, defenses, and offenses which I may not have covered.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For specific legal advice about any situation you should consult an attorney directly.