Illegal Bookmaking and Illegal Bookmaking on a Pari-mutuel Facility - Florida Statutes 849.25 & 550.3615

gambling

Chapter 849 , Chapter 550, and Chapter 551 govern gambling in Florida. Gambling or being associated in some form with gambling is generally prohibited unless it falls into a few exceptions such as charity Bingo, the Florida State Lottery, pari-mutuel facilities, penny ante betting, etc.

Bookmaking is illegal in Florida. A bookmaker is a misnomer. It is not illegal to make books, but it is illegal to receive bets on agreed upon odds. A bookmaker, sometimes called a “bookie” or “turf accountant,” takes bets from individuals and then pays out or collects money based upon what his book says about who-owes-who what amount of money. A bookmaker needs his book to keep track of all the bets, which is why he is called a bookmaker.

Florida Statute 849.25 - Illegal BookmakingWhat the State Prosecutor Has to Prove to Convict a Defendant of Bookmaking

The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) The defendant was engaged in the business or profession of gambling;

(2) While so engaged, the defendant took or received a bet or wager; and

(3) The bet or wager was upon the result of either:

  1. A trial or contest of skill, speed, power, or endurance of man, beast, fowl, motor vehicles, or mechanical apparatus; or
  2. A chance, casualty, or an unknown or contingent event.

The state prosecutor needs to show only two factors from the following list to get to trial:

  • Taking advantage of betting odds created to produce a profit for the bookmaker or charging a percentage on accepted wagers.
  • Placing all or part of accepted wagers with other bookmakers to reduce the chance of financial loss.
  • Taking or receiving more than five wagers in any single day.
  • Taking or receiving wagers totaling more than $500 in any single day, or more than $1,500 in any single week.
  • Engaging in a common scheme with two or more persons to take or receive wagers.
  • Taking or receiving wagers on both sides of a contest at the identical point spread.
  • Any other factor relevant to establishing that the operating procedures of such person are commercial in nature.
Punishment for Bookmaking

This crime is a third-degree felony that is punishable up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 fine. This crime is ranked as level 1 out of 10 under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code. Furthermore, the adjudication cannot be withheld. Therefore any plea to the charge makes you a convicted felon. A second offense will be a second-degree felony, which is punishable up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Florida Statute 550.3615- Illegal Bookmaking on a Pari-mutuel Facility

Florida Statute 550.002(22) defines pari-mutuel as “a system of betting on races or games in which the winners divide the total amount bet, after deducting management expenses and taxes, in proportion to the sums they have wagered individually and with regard to the odds assigned to particular outcomes.” Pari-mutuel facilities have permits to operate dog tracks, horse tracks, or jai-alai. This statute makes it a crime to be a bookmaker in this type of facility.

Bookmakers are competing with the facilities they are in. The facility does not like competition and anyone who is charged with this crime most likely will have the facility assisting law enforcement with the prosecution of this crime.

What the State Prosecutor Has to Prove to Convict a Defendant of Bookmaking on a Pari-mutuel Facility

The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) The defendant took or received a bet or wager;

(2) The bet or wager was upon the result of a trial or contest of skill, speed, power, or endurance of horses, dogs, or between men;

(3) The bet or wager was taken upon the grounds or property of pari-mutuel facility; and

(4) The pari-mutuel facility had a permit to operate a horse track, dog track, or jai alai fronton.

Punishment

This crime is a third-degree felony and the adjudication cannot be withheld. A second conviction will be a second-degree felony, which is punishable up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Anyone convicted cannot go to a racetrack for 2 years after the conviction. A violation of the two- year prohibition is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.

If you have been charged with this crime, call our law offices. You can schedule a free consultation to meet with us to discuss your case. Dealing with criminal charges is difficult and stressful. Our Palm Beach County Illegal Bookmaking Attorneys seek to make this situation as least stressful as possible and to achieve the best outcome possible for you. Call our law offices today so we can get to work helping you.

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