Home > It's A Legal Matter > Gambling


By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


Have you ever bet on a game or participated in a fantasy football league? Ever played cards for money or entered a college basketball tournament office pool?

In Indiana, it is illegal to knowingly or intentionally engage in gambling. In Indiana, gambling is defined as “risking money or other property for gain, contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device.” Excluded from the definition is any “bona fide contests of skill, speed, strength or endurance in which awards are made only to entrants or the owners of entries.”

So the guy who wins a turkey dinner for making a full court shot during half-time of the game is legit? But the two guys in the bleachers who bet on the outcome of the shot broke the law? Doesn’t gambling require skill? Sure seems like some people are better at it than others.

The offense is a Class D felony punishable up to three years in prison if a person gambles on the Internet either while in Indiana or with a person who is in Indiana.

A person commits “professional gambling,” a Class D felony, when he engages in book-making, conducts a lottery or other game with dice or cards, or “accepts any fixed share of the stakes therein, “ or accepts money or property, for profit, that was risked in gambling. There are many other types of gambling activities that are prohibited. If you have questions, consult an attorney with gaming law experience.

Meet Ted. Ted is a 22 year old fictional college student studying biology. He plans to attend medical school next year. Ted lives with two roommates in a three bedroom apartment. Ted studies a lot, but he recently started hosting a weekly poker game. On a normal night, the guys would play for four or five hours.

A few weeks ago, so many guys showed that Ted got two tables going. Everyone pitched in a few bucks and Ted ordered pizzas. Ted also stocked up on beer and Coke before the game. The guys put in about $130 and the pizza and drinks cost about $110. Of course, the apartment was a bit trashed and it took him almost an hour to clean. Ted also noticed that some of his bread and lunch meat were gone. Factoring in his missing food and cleaning time, Ted realized he really didn’t make any money on the deal.

The next time the guys came over, Ted decided to start charging a small fee on every game played. All the guys agreed the fee was fair. Ted supplied pizzas, drinks, chips and dip.

Ted is hosting another poker game tonight. He is picking up pizzas, wings, sandwiches and drinks for the guys.

Ted is a professional gambler.

I bet he has no idea.


Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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