What Happens if You Get Caught Betting on Sports Illegally?

The legality of sports betting in New Jersey has been a controversial issue since it was first proposed in 2012. Currently, there are 20 states that allow for some type of legal wagering on sports. If you’re living in one of those States and you get caught up in the act, how severe of a penalty can you expect to receive?

That is the question that is being asked across the country as States like New Jersey are trying to figure out how to regulate and legalize sports gambling. And, now that the season has started, it is an issue that is being debated at the dining tables and across social media platforms. But first, let’s take a quick look at what happens when you get busted for gambling on sports in New Jersey.

Period Of Restriction And Penalties

If you get arrested for sports betting in New Jersey You will likely face a period of incarceration in the County Jail and/or a State Prison. The incarceration could be as little as a few days or as long as a month or longer. If convicted, you could receive a $5,000 surcharge and up to a $100,000 fine.

Once you complete your sentence, you will have to pay for the prosecution and court costs and you will have to register as a sex offender. A lifelong registration is a serious penalty in New Jersey. If you are found guilty of the same offense in another state, you will face additional penalties. And, if you continue to break the law, you will eventually be subjected to arrest and prosecution for a felony.

Education And Awareness

Upon release from incarceration, you will have to attend a six-hour educational session on gambling. This will be a one-time requirement, but you will be able to find out more about gambling if you attend Gamblers Anonymous or visit the nearest Department of Gaming Enforcement office to file a complaint. If you want to continue to play in a legal manner, you will have to establish residency in a legal gambling enclave and ensure that you only play in licensed casinos.

Whether you choose to complete the requirements for probation or not, you will have to pay for any court costs associated with your case and undergo random drug testing as part of your probation. If you violate any of these conditions, you will face arrest and incarceration.

Loss Of Citizenship

If you’re not a U.S. citizen and you’re caught up in the act of betting on sports, the Federal Government could demand that you prove your legal status. The best course of action would be to have documentation to establish your eligibility to play (e.g., a passport, visa, green card).

If you don’t have any of the documentation mentioned above, you will lose your status as a U.S. citizen. The Government will then deport you, and you will lose all of your rights as a U.S. citizen including, but not limited to, the right to vote in Presidential elections and the right to own firearms. Additionally, you will be subject to arrest and prosecution for a felony.

However, if you do have documentation and you still choose to play, you could find yourself in a bit of a predicament. You will have violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 1473, which makes it a federal offense to knowingly use a vehicle for the purpose of transporting people to another country for the enjoyment of gambling. This is a class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

To avoid this particular scenario, many countries that are part of the U.S. agreement have enacted legislation that makes it illegal for individuals to play in their country. If you travel abroad and get arrested for gambling, you will receive a summons and be forced to appear in court. If you get convicted, you will have to pay fines and compensation to the victim, and you may face incarceration. Even if you are not convicted, you will not be able to play in that country legally.

Damage To Your Credit History

While you’re in the process of establishing residency in a legal gambling area and registering with the State, your credit history will be impacted. If you are playing in a land-based casino, you will be required to open up a bank account in which you can place bets. In doing so, a gambling license will be required as part of the registration process. This is a major step forward in establishing credit. But, once you complete the process and open the bank account, you will discover that there are certain limitations on how much you can deposit into the account and how much you can spend.

On one hand, the above-listed penalties and restrictions apply, and, on the other, you will discover that you cannot access your account if you do not have a land-based casino to go to for gambling purposes. This could leave you with a dilemma as to whether or not you should play incognito. If you do decide to play incognito, you should do so in a manner that does not put your personal safety at risk. Additionally, if you do place bets in an unauthorized manner, you could find yourself in violation of the Wire Act, which makes it a criminal offense to engage in interstate wire communications for the purpose of betting or gambling.

Fines And Fees

Regardless of what happens, you will have to pay for your crimes, and the above mentioned expenses are only the tip of the iceberg. Once you complete your incarceration you will be hit with fines and fees that total well over $100,000. Additionally, you will have to pay for a lawyers’ fee and court costs connected to your case. The paperwork alone is enough to fill out a small office. There are also additional fees for things like drug testing, fingerprinting, and license and residency verification. All of these fees add up quickly and can bankrupt you if you do not have the money upfront.

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of what happens if you get arrested for gambling in New Jersey, it’s a good idea to consider the pros and the cons of playing and to follow the laws and regulations where you live. If you want to play in other States, you will have to find out if your home State allows for legal gambling or if there are any restrictions on where you can play. Additionally, if you decide to play in an online casino or on the phone, you will have to follow the laws and regulations of whichever jurisdiction you’re in. If you’re unsure of what happens if you get arrested for gambling in New Jersey, we have provided you with a link to the State’s website so you can research the laws and regulations.