Most people realize the Gambling Laws in Utah generally prohibit any and all gambling including lotteries. However, what most people perhaps don’t know is that some forms of internet gambling or gambling among friends may also be illegal. What if you are having a friendly poke game at your house with a couple of friends and you are playing low stokes just a few bucks here and there? Is that type of activity illegal? Whatever you have a fantasy football league going and work and everyone put $20 or so in the pot for the winner? Would this be considered illegal gambling in Utah and could your be prosecuted? In Utah, a person is guilty of gambling if they:
- participate in any form of gambling including internet gambling.
- permit anyone else to gamble on their property.
- allow video gambling in their business or in a public place.
So the question becomes, what does Utah law define as “gambling?” Under Utah Code 76-10-1101, “gambling” is defined as, “risking anything of value for a return or risking anything of value upon the outcome of a contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device when the return or outcome: (1) is based upon an element of chance; and (2) is in accord with an agreement or understanding that someone will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome. This is a rather generalized definition but the statute goes on to clarify that any lottery is also considered gambling while any business transactions or device not intended to risk value is not considered gambling under the law.
Penalties for Gambling
A first or second conviction for gambling is a Class B Misdemeanor under the statute. If you are facing your third or higher charge, you could be facing a Class A Misdemeanor. Additionally, individuals who provide internet gambling services to anyone in the state of Utah may be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. Of course, while some states such as Nevada are moving towards legal internet gambling, most providers are located overseas and are therefore difficult to prosecute. Penalties for Gambling can be severe so make sure to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you are charged.
Possessing Gambling Devices
One area people should be extra cautious about when it comes to gambling in Utah, is possessing a gambling device such as a slot machine or even a black jack table may be illegal under certain circumstances. The key to this section of the law is that such a device must be possessed with the intent to use for illegal gambling.
Consultation if Charged
If you or someone you know has been charged with gambling or a related offense in Provo, Orem, or anywhere else in Utah County or throughout the state, we can help. Call and speak to a Provo Criminal Defense Attorney at our office today. We can be reached anytime day or night at 801.800.8246.