Keeping a Gambling Place graphic with Texas flag and 2020 badges

Keeping a Gambling Place

The Keeping a Gambling Place crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you allow gambling to happen on any property you own or control. Learn more detailed information about the Keeping a Gambling Place offense below.

Have you been charged with Keeping a Gambling Place? Call criminal lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305 to discuss legal representation.

Prosecutions for Keeping a Gambling Place are rare. They have been used to combat dog fighting and other animal fighting rings, but any kind of gambling is covered through the definition of “Gambling Place.”

Keeping a Gambling Place is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 10 “Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, and Morals”, Chapter 47 “Gambling.”

What is the current Texas law about Keeping a Gambling Place?

The current Texas law is as follows:1

(a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly uses or permits another to use as a gambling place any real estate, building, room, tent, vehicle, boat, or other property whatsoever owned by him or under his control, or rents or lets any such property with a view or expectation that it be so used.

“Gambling place” is defined in the same Penal Code chapter to mean “any real estate, building, room, tent, vehicle, boat, or other property whatsoever, one of the uses of which is the making or settling of bets, bookmaking, or the conducting of a lottery or the playing of gambling devices.”2

There is an important legal defense available in subsection (b), that: “(1) the gambling occurred in a private place; (2) no person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and (3) except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants.”

You should be aware, however, that just because there is a legal defense available doesn’t mean you won’t get arrested. You would have to put forth evidence of this defense at a trial in order for it to help you. And this can be difficult evidence to obtain. For instance, how would you show that the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants?

How can I be charged with Keeping a Gambling Place?

You can be charged with Keeping a Gambling Place if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 47.04(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Keeping a Gambling Place?

A conviction for Keeping a Gambling Place is punished as a Class A misdemeanor,3 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one year. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors


Legal References:

1 Texas Penal Code §47.04

2 Texas Penal Code § 47.01(3)

3 Texas Penal Code §47.04(c)

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