FREE, CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION
Law Office of Jessica Travis, P.A., features free parking and is located conveniently on East Livingston Street in Orlando. Further, my law firm offers free, confidential consultations and I accept most payments by credit card. To discuss your circumstances with a lawyer, contact me online or by calling 407-233-3210 or 888-778-7638 toll free.
By Jessica Travis on Wednesday, October 30, 2013
On October 11, 2013, Jacksonville attorney, Kelly Mathis, was found guilty by six Sanford jurors on 103 counts ranging from possession of illegal slot machines to operating an unauthorized lottery and racketeering. Mathis was arrested last March after authorities found that he had been using the veterans’ non-profit organization, Allied Veterans’ Charity, as cover for a gambling operation that garnered over $300 million in illegal profits.
The Allied Veterans’ Charity claimed to be raising money for veterans by operating Internet cafes that were supposed to allow customers to buy Internet time. After a three year investigation into the organization, the Attorney General charged Mathis with running a casino gambling racket with slot machines and computer casinos operating under the guise of Internet cafes he had set up in over 40 locations across the state. After the jury found Mathis guilty on 103 charges, he was released on bond until his sentencing hearing in February, where he could possibly face many years in prison.
Following the arrest of Mathis and the investigation into his gambling racket,
the State legislature has taken a hard look at the hundreds of Internet cafes across the state of Florida that operate in online gambling. Many city and county governments in Florida have openly deemed Internet cafes as “storefront casinos” that deal in online gambling operations that attempt to evade state gambling laws. The legislature is attempting to pass new laws strictly banning the online casinos that are offered at the Internet cafes.
Currently, Florida gambling laws are vague, leaving a gray area in the law that is often eluded by these Internet cafes. Florida Statues § 849.08 defines that any person who engages in any “game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, for money or other thing of value” can be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable up to 60 days in jail. Florida Statutes § 849.08 further states that any person who maintains a gaming room or apparatus “for the purpose of gaming or gambling” or “permits any person to play for money or other valuable thing” can be guilty of felony punishable up to 5 years in prison.
The increasing trend in fantasy sports leagues has also brought about the issue of the legality regarding gambling. While many people enthusiastically take part in their fantasy football leagues, the thought of whether playing in these leagues by betting money is legal may never cross their minds. In the United States, playing fantasy football for money is legal under federal law. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 outlines that fantasy gaming is legal because the value of the winnings is independent of the fees paid in by participants, the game reflects knowledge and skill and not just a game of mere luck, and finally, the results of the winnings are independent on the final scores of the actual sports games.
Although federal law has deemed fantasy sports as legal, taking part in a fantasy football league is actually considered illegal in Florida and can carry a penalty of up to 60 days in jail. Under Florida Statutes §849.14 a person who bets any money or anything of value on a contest involving “skill, speed or power or endurance of human or beast” may be guilty of a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor. Therefore, when selecting your fantasy sports leagues these upcoming sports season, make sure you carefully look at the rules and regulations regarding the league and if it abides by the Florida statutes.
Along with legislation banning gambling on fantasy sports, Florida also strictly regulates “at-home” gambling that involves cards games such as poker or bridge. Under Florida Statutes §849.085, it is legal to conduct “penny ante games” in which the winnings cannot exceed $10. In the context of the statute, “penny ante games” are games of “poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mah-jongg.” The statute further states that participants must be over 18 years old and the games must be played at a residential dwelling in which the residential owner is part of the penny ante game. According to the statute, it is illegal for a person to charge an admission fee for hosting one of these games and the host cannot receive any payments for conducting the game, such as a house cut.
With the controversy regarding Internet casinos waging up across Florida and the immense popularity of fantasy football and card gaming underway, the Sunshine State may see a new onset of gambling legislation in the near future. In the mean time, it is important to understand the current gambling laws that regulate gaming in Florida. By becoming informed of the legal issues surrounding gambling, you can better enjoy gaming activities without the fear of committing an illegal act.
Orlando Probation Violation Lawyer
Central Florida Criminal Law And Probation Violation Attorney Serving Osceola, Orlando And Orange County. Committed. Skilled. Fair legal services.
FAILED A DRUG TEST WHILE ON PROBATION? I CAN HELP!
Accusations of probation violations have serious consequences, but you are not helpless to their consequences. You can fight back.
Contact the Law Office of Jessica Travis, P.A., in Orlando, Florida, and I can meet with you confidentially, discuss your options and help you limit — or eliminate — any negative consequences of an alleged probation violation.