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Gambling Statutes in New Jersey

§ 2C:37-1. Definitions

The following definitions apply to this chapter and to chapter 64:

a. “Contest of chance” means any contest, game, pool, gaming scheme or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants or some other persons may also be a factor therein.

b. “Gambling” means staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the actor’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

c. “Player” means a person who engages in any form of gambling solely as a contestant or bettor, without receiving or becoming entitled to receive any profit therefrom other than personal gambling winnings, and without otherwise rendering any material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation of the particular gambling activity. A person who gambles at a social game of chance on equal terms with the other participants therein does not thereby render material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation of such game if he performs, without fee or remuneration, acts directed toward the arrangement or facilitation of the game, such as inviting persons to play, permitting the use of premises therefor or supplying cards or other equipment used therein. A person who engages in “bookmaking” as defined in this section is not a “player.”

d. “Something of value” means any money or property, any token, object or article exchangeable for money or property, or any form of credit or promise directly or indirectly contemplating transfer of money or property or of any interest therein, or involving extension of a service, entertainment or a privilege of playing at a game or scheme without charge. This definition, however, does not include any form of promise involving extension of a privilege of playing at a game without charge on a mechanical or electronic amusement device, other than a slot machine as an award for the attainment of a certain score on that device.

e. “Gambling device” means any device, machine, paraphernalia or equipment which is used or usable in the playing phases of any gambling activity, whether such activity consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine. Notwithstanding the foregoing, lottery tickets, policy slips and other items used in the playing phases of lottery and policy schemes are not gambling devices.

f. “Slot machine” means any mechanical, electrical or other device, contrivance or machine which, upon insertion of a coin, token or similar object therein, or upon payment of any consideration whatsoever, is available to play or operate, the play or operation of which, whether by reason of the skill of the operator or application of the element of chance, or both, may deliver or entitle the person playing or operating the machine to receive cash or tokens to be exchanged for cash, whether the payoff is made automatically from the machine or in any other manner whatsoever. A device so constructed, or readily adaptable or convertible to such use, is no less a slot machine because it is not in working order or because some mechanical act of manipulation or repair is required to accomplish its adaptation, conversion or workability.

g. “Bookmaking” means advancing gambling activity by unlawfully accepting bets from members of the public upon the outcome of future contingent events as a business.

h. “Lottery” means an unlawful gambling scheme in which (a) the players pay or agree to pay something of value for chances, represented and differentiated by numbers or by combinations of numbers or by some other media, one or more of which chances are to be designated the winning ones; and (b) the winning chances are to be determined by a drawing or by some other method based upon the element of chance; and (c) the holders of the winning chances are to receive something of value.

i. “Policy” or “the numbers game” means a form of lottery in which the winning chances or plays are not determined upon the basis of a drawing or other act on the part of persons conducting or connected with the scheme, but upon the basis of the outcome or outcomes of a future contingent event or events otherwise unrelated to the particular scheme.

j. “Gambling resort” means a place to which persons may resort for engaging in gambling activity.

k. “Unlawful” means not specifically authorized by law.

§ 2C:37-2. Promoting gambling

a. Promoting Gambling Defined. A person is guilty of promoting gambling when he knowingly:

(1) Accepts or receives money or other property, pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person whereby he participates or will participate in the proceeds of gambling activity; or

(2) Engages in conduct, which materially aids any form of gambling activity. Such conduct includes but is not limited to conduct directed toward the creation or establishment of the particular game, contest, scheme, device or activity involved, toward the acquisition or maintenance of premises, paraphernalia, equipment or apparatus therefor, toward the solicitation or inducement of persons to participate therein, toward the actual conduct of the playing phases thereof, toward the arrangement of any of its financial or recording phases, or toward any other phase of its operation.

b. Grading. A person who violates the provisions of subsection a. by:

(1) Engaging in bookmaking to the extent he receives or accepts in any one day more than five bets totaling more than $ 1,000.00; or

(2) Receiving, in connection with a lottery or policy scheme or enterprise (a) money or written records from a person other than a player whose chances or plays are represented by such money or records, or (b) more than $ 100.00 in any one day of money played in such scheme or enterprise, is guilty of a crime of the third degree and notwithstanding the provisions of section 2C:43-3 shall be subject to a fine of not more than $ 35,000.00 and any other appropriate disposition authorized by N.J.S.2C:43-2 b.

A person who violates the provisions of subsection a. by engaging in bookmaking to the extent he receives or accepts three or more bets in any two-week period is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree and notwithstanding the provisions of section 2C:43-3 shall be subject to a fine of not more than $ 25,000.00 and any other appropriate disposition authorized by N.J.S.2C:43-2b. Otherwise, promoting gambling is a disorderly persons offense and notwithstanding the provisions of section 2C:43-3 shall be subject to a fine of not more than $ 10,000.00 and any other appropriate disposition authorized by N.J.S.2C:43-2b.

c. It is a defense to a prosecution under subsection a. that the person participated only as a player. It shall be the burden of the defendant to prove by clear and convincing evidence his status as such player.

§ 2C:37-3. Possession of gambling records

a. A person is guilty of possession of gambling records when, with knowledge of the contents thereof, he possesses any writing, paper, instrument or article:

(1) Of a kind commonly used in the operation or promotion of a bookmaking scheme or enterprise, including any paper or paper product in sheet form chemically converted to nitrocellulose having explosive characteristics as well as any water soluble paper or paper derivative in sheet form; or

(2) Of a kind commonly used in the operation, promotion or playing of a lottery or policy scheme or enterprise.

b. Defenses.

(1) It is a defense to a prosecution under subsection a. (2) which must be proven by the defendant by clear and convincing evidence that the writing, paper, instrument or article possessed by the defendant constituted, reflected or represented plays, bets or chances of the defendant himself in a number not exceeding 10.

(2) It is a defense to a prosecution under subsection a. which must be proven by the defendant by clear and convincing evidence that the writing, paper, instrument or article possessed by the defendant was neither used nor intended to be used in the operation or promotion of a bookmaking scheme or enterprise, or in the operation, promotion or playing of a lottery or policy scheme or enterprise.

c. Grading. Possession of gambling records is a crime of the third degree and notwithstanding the provisions of section 2C:43-3 shall be subject to a fine of not more than $ 35,000.00 and any other appropriate disposition authorized by N.J.S.2C:43-2b. when the writing, paper, instrument or article:

(1) In a bookmaking scheme or enterprise, constitute, reflect or represent more than five bets totaling more than $ 1,000.00; or

(2) In the case of a lottery or policy scheme or enterprise, constitute, reflect or represent more than one hundred plays or chances therein.

Otherwise, possession of gambling records is a disorderly persons offense and notwithstanding the provisions of section 2C:43-3 shall be subject to a fine of not more than $ 20,000.00 and any other appropriate disposition authorized by N.J.S.2C:43-2b.

§ 2C:37-5. Gambling onenses; presumption

In any prosecution under this article in which it is necessary to prove the occurrence of a sporting event, a published report of its occurrence in any daily newspaper, magazine or other periodically printed publication of general circulation shall be admissible in evidence and shall constitute presumptive proof of the occurrence of such event.

§ 2C:37-7. Possession of a gambling device

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

a. A slot machine; or

b. Any other gambling device, believing that the same is to be used in the advancement of unlawful gambling activity.

Possession of a gambling device other than under such circumstances as would constitute a violation of section 116 of the “Casino Control Act” (P.L.1977, c. 110; C. 5:12-1 et seq.) is a disorderly persons offense; provided, however, that possession of not more than one gambling device other than a slot machine for social use within the home shall not be an offense under this section; and provided further, however that possession of one or more antique slot machines shall not be an offense under this section or under section 116 of the “Casino Control Act” (P.L.1977, c. 110; C. 5:12-1 et seq.). As used in this section, “antique slot machine” means a slot machine which was manufactured prior to 1941. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the use of an antique slot machine for any unlawful purpose or for gaming.

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