Bookmaking Defense Attorneys In West Palm Beach

Bookmaking Defense Attorneys In West Palm Beach


Florida has very tight regulations on gambling, and only certain types are legal. Lottery tickets, bingo and raffles at churches and other nonprofits, social card games, state-licensed pari-mutuel gambling such as horse racing and cardrooms, and casino gambling on Seminole and Miccosukee lands are all allowed in The Sunshine State.

The Florida Gaming Control Commission’s website has a list of places where it is legal to gamble. In West Palm Beach, that facility is the Palm Beach Kennel Club, which includes cardrooms. Informal card games at home or in a public place are also legal, as long as no one is charging for admission and the payouts for each hand do not exceed $10.
But other types of gambling are not legal in Florida, such as betting on sporting events, and that includes someone who takes and organizes bets on behalf of the events. These types of events can land someone in jail for criminal bookmaking charges.

What Is Bookmaking?

A bookmaker is someone who takes and pays bets based on a type of contest (usually sporting activities.) Also called a “bookie” or a “turf accountant,” this person keeps books to know who has paid, who won and who owes in their betting and gambling business.

To qualify as a bookmaker, a person would accept 5 or more bets or $500 or more in one day, $1,500 a week or more, or engage with two or more individuals to accept or receive wagers. They may also work with other bookmakers to make a profit from gambling. A prosecutor must show that a person was engaged in bookmaking by these benchmarks and profit to make a case.

Sports betting is not legal in Florida, except for bowling. Bookmaking is illegal under Florida statute 849.25, which states:

“The term “bookmaking” means the act of taking or receiving, while engaged in the business or profession of gambling, any bet or wager upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed, power, or endurance of human, beast, fowl, motor vehicle, or mechanical apparatus or upon the result of any chance, casualty, unknown, or contingent event whatsoever.”

The Pari-Mutuel

Pari-mutuel betting operates by pooling all wagers, deducting a percentage for the house, and determining the final payouts only after betting concludes and odds are computed. This method is commonly used in jai alai, horse racing, and other sports where outcomes are ranked. In a pari-mutuel, the bets are placed onsite at the facility, with no offsite betting allowed.

Bookmaking inside a pari-mutuel, a place that is licensed for betting, is also illegal, such as horse tracks. This unlicensed activity creates competition with the facility that has a valid Florida license for gambling.

Florida’s Penalties For Bookmaking

Because Florida has strict laws surrounding gambling, a conviction of bookmaking can lead to harsh penalties. Additional gambling charges can add to the penalties.

A first-time conviction of bookmaking in Florida is a third-degree felony. A person convicted could face penalties such as a maximum of five years in prison, followed by probation, and a maximum fine of $5,000. Subsequent convictions are charged as a second-degree felony with harsher penalties such as a maximum of 15 years in prison with probation and maximum fines of $10,000.

If charged or convicted, a person faces a two-year ban from horse tracks and other pari-mutuels.

Are There Defenses Against Bookmaking?

There are. Talk with our experienced criminal defense team about building your defense to fight bookmaking, other gambling-related charges, or additional charges. We’re available 24/7 to help with your case.

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person accepted the wagers and was actively engaged in bookmaking. Defenses against bookmaking include lack of evidence, mistaken identity, and unlawful search and seizure, among others.

We can help you with your defense and seek the best possible outcome for your case. To protect your rights, contact the attorneys at Farkas & Crowley today for a free case evaluation by calling (561)-444-9529.

bookmaking cases in west palm beach

Looking for a criminal law firm? Farkas & Crowley, P.A. are the attorneys for you. They are extremely knowledgeable of the law and go the extra mile for their clients. Their expertise and impeccable work ethic are hard to beat. Available 24/7. Highly recommended.

-Marla Newman

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500 S. Australian Ave.
6th Floor
West Palm Beach, FL 33401


(561) - 444 - 9529


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Farkas & Crowley, PA

Criminal Defense & Family Law Lawyers