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Transporting wagering paraphernalia across states is a federal offense

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | White-collar crimes

While gambling is widespread across the United States, it’s heavily regulated at both the state and federal levels. There are restrictions on the types of gambling allowed, how it’s done and where it can be done.

However, some would attempt to break these rules by delivering gambling paraphernalia from one point to another. Perhaps it’s to facilitate prohibited gambling operations or to fund other illegal organized crime ventures such as money laundering. Whatever the reason, transporting wagering paraphernalia is potentially a crime at the federal level.

Illegal transportation

According to federal law, it’s against the law to transport any record, paraphernalia, ticket, certificate, bills, slip, token, paper, writing, or other device used in bookmaking, wagering pools or in a numbers game. The transportation must occur across state lines or from a foreign country into the United States for the action to be a federal offense.

Under the law, it’s also an offense to receive wagering paraphernalia delivered across state lines or from a foreign country. Aiding the transportation of such gambling materials is also a federal offense.

Items considered wagering paraphernalia

The law has a broad definition of what’s considered wagering paraphernalia. They can include:

  • Betting slips or records of wagers
  • Ledgers or accounting records used to track bets
  • Calculators or computing devices used to determine odds or payouts
  • Telecommunications equipment used to facilitate illegal gambling operations
  • Money or currency used in the wagering process

These items don’t have to be exclusive for illegal gambling to trigger a violation. Even a partial use in connection with illegal activities can lead to charges.

The penalties for transporting wagering paraphernalia

If a court convicts a person of interstate transportation of wagering paraphernalia, the person faces up to five years of imprisonment and a steep court-determined fine.

Transporting a bunch of gambling materials from one state to another may seem innocuous, but it can lead to federal criminal charges. It’s also a serious white-collar crime that falls under the broader category of racketeering offenses. If you face charges, don’t go into your hearing unprepared. A legal professional may be able to advise you on your case and fight for your rights.