Gambling is one of the most universal forms of entertainment in the world. However, a night out with family and friends can leave you with a record when gambling is a crime. According to state laws in some parts of the world, gambling is a crime. Gambling isn’t a crime under the federal laws in the United States but interstate laws may restrict gambling in certain areas. On the other hand, gambling is a crime when it is a front for illegal activities.
When Gambling is a Crime?
1. Gambling and Money Laundering
One of the common crimes associated with gambling is money laundering. This happens when an individual makes large amounts of money through illegal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and other criminal activities. The criminal begins to look for ways to conceal the source as such money cannot spend it without attracting the authorities. One way money laundering works in gambling is when the criminal uses the funds to operate a casino and manipulates the numbers to conceal the launder.
Another way people use casinos to launder money is by passing it through the casinos and collecting it back. This is how it works. Players buy huge stacks of casino chips, gamble for a while, and then claim their money was earned from gambling winnings. The money could subsequently be legitimately stashed in a bank account.
Due to the rise of money laundering in casinos, laws obligating casino operators have to report suspicious people to the authorities. However, the invention of digital currencies has created a better avenue for people to launder money in online casinos. They pay for chips using cryptocurrency and enjoy the benefit of anonymity thus reducing their chances of being caught.
2. Gambling and the Use of Illicit Drugs
It isn’t out of place to associate the use of illicit drugs with gambling. Problem gamblers often use cocaine and other hard drugs to help “heighten their senses” before a gambling session. Many of them claim it helps them focus better at the table. Also, gamblers may use illicit drugs to celebrate their winnings or as a coping mechanism for loss.
As the term “illicit” implies, the use of these drugs is illegal in most parts of the world even where gambling is legal. In the Arab world where gambling and illicit drug use are both illegal, you could face a death sentence if you are caught doing both.
3. Gambling and Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol and gambling go hand in hand. Although not a crime, alcohol abuse could lead to a crime when the person drinking has lost control of their actions. Gamblers often use alcohol to celebrate a win or boost their morale before a game. If a gambler gets too intoxicated after a win and drives under the influence, they may run into someone or destroy public property.
Excessive intake of alcohol may heighten a gambler’s aggression towards fellow gamblers or casino staff over trivial matters. This could lead to physical altercations in the casino. Also, Problem gamblers use alcohol to cope with losses just as much as it is used to celebrate winnings.
4. Gambling and Loan Sharking
Loan sharking occurs when a person loans money to another at an unrealistically high-interest rate. This is a crime in many parts of the world not only because of the high-interest rate but due to its predatory nature. Problem gamblers cannot help themselves from constantly borrowing to fund their gambling habits. They’re usually neck-deep in debts and so have nothing to pay back when the time comes. Loan sharks who have loaned money to these gamblers often deploy brutal means to collect their money.
Loan sharks, as these individuals are called, deliberately target gambling addicts and manipulating them into borrowing money from them. When these gamblers are unable to pay back, the loan shark teaches them a lesson by hurting them or their loved ones just to get the money back.
5. Theft and Embezzlement
Gambling addiction can cause a gambler to resort to theft to fund their habits or pay back a debt. A problem gambler who has access to their company’s funds may yield to the temptation to take from it. Gamblers who steal their company’s funds usually start in bits. These might go unnoticed in the company short term. Unfortunately, the stealing never stops until they eventually embezzle huge amounts of money that are difficult to conceal. This is a criminal offense in every part of the world and you will face jail time if you are caught.
6. Illegal Bookie
The term bookie is slang for a bookmarker. A bookie is a person or an organization that serves as an intermediary between gamblers and bets. They accept bets, place and pay them off. When a gambler can’t pay off their bets after losing, it becomes the responsibility of the bookie to make them pay. Bookies are illegal in many states because of the violent methods they use in collecting money back from debtors. These violent methods could range from threats to torture to death. Also, bookies are often part of organized crime syndicates.
7. Sports Betting | a Form of Gambling
As gambling is still a controversial topic in the world, this makes sports betting illegal in many parts of the world. Law enforcers argue that legalizing sports betting may encourage people to become gambling addicts. Addiction may lead to serious problems with work, family, and friends in the gambler’s life. If you live in a state where sports betting is illegal, you would be committing a crime each time you place a bet.
8. Gambling and Cheating
Although cheating is not always considered a crime in the real world, it is a crime in the gambling world. This is a common occurrence in casinos and often leads to a violent end. Many gamblers try to cheat the casinos into getting big wins. It could be anything from hiding cards up their sleeves, to manipulating slot machines with fake coins.
A casino can arrest a cheating gambler. If it is a casino with a bad wrap, the matter would be settled internally and this usually results in serious injuries.
9. A Threat to Life and Suicide
When a gambler cheats or is unable to pay off bets or debts, their life could be at risk. Most state constitutions provide for freedom to live and so, threats to life are illegal under the law.
Suicide is also a crime in many countries. Problem gamblers resort to suicide when there is no means to pay off accumulated debts overtime. If you try to kill yourself because you’re in debt, you may face criminal charges.
The line is thin between problem gambling and crime. This is why many states and individuals discourage and denounce gambling. This doesn’t mean a gambler always has to commit a crime. You can avoid getting into trouble if you:
Know Your Limits
Learn to apply the brakes when your gambling becomes a habit. You can reduce the number of days you gamble in a week. Also, you should not try to recoup losses by placing even larger bets that you can afford. Don’t bite off more than you can chew by placing extremely high bets.
If you have access to your company’s funds, don’t fall into temptation by stealing it to fund your problem gambling. Never try to cheat the house or fellow gamblers to win. You want to be able to live freely and not hide all the time because you cheated. Also, you should learn never to borrow money or sell material possessions to fund your gambling habits. You should always be in control of the game.
Seek Professional Help
There’s no shame in seeking professional help. If your gambling habits have now become problematic to the detriment of everyone around you, then it’s time to speak with a therapist. Professional counsel may require you to tone down your gambling activity or quit altogether. If you’re neck-deep in debt, you should tell your therapist and family members.
Despite state laws and casino regulations, you can easily find yourself in a situation when gambling is a crime. So, if you don’t want problems with the authorities or fellow gamblers, try to stay away from gambling-related crimes.