Traditionally, gambling was seen as a vice. Like with drinking or using tobacco, other traditional vices, you must reach a certain age before you can legally gamble – at a casino or online. New Jersey’s penalties for underage gambling may not seem severe in comparison to other, more severe crimes, but these penalties can surely leave you with a criminal record.
If you or your child was arrested for or charged with gambling under the age of 21 in New Jersey, talk to our Atlantic City underage gambling lawyers today. The defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych have decades of experienced dealing with casino crimes and other criminal cases in New Jersey. For a free consultation on your charges, contact our attorneys today at (609) 625-3006.
When is Underage Gambling a Crime in New Jersey?
Under New Jersey law, you cannot gamble until you turn 21. N.J.S.A. § 5:12-119 lays down this rule by specifically tying the gambling age to the drinking age – 21 in New Jersey. This law states that you cannot “enter, or wager in, a licensed casino or simulcasting facility.” However, this law does not go so far as to block people under 21 from simply passing through a casino. If you are walking through the casino floor to get to another room, it is perfectly legal for you to be there. Especially if you are under parental supervision, this should not be a problem.
If you do gamble underage, other people could get in trouble as well. The casino employee that allows you to place a bet could also face prosecution, though they can point to your use of a false ID or other facts as a defense. Any parent or adult over 21 that you enter the casino with could also face penalties for allowing you to gamble.
This offense is not technically a “crime” under New Jersey’s definitions, but it can still carry serious penalties. Gambling underaged is known as a “disorderly persons offense” in New Jersey. This is similar to what other states call “misdemeanors.” New Jersey reserves the term “crimes” for its “indictable crimes,” the offenses that equate to other states’ “felonies.”
Because underage gambling is not a crime, you may not be entitled to a trial by jury or other constitutional protections. However, you are still entitled to the right to a “bench trial” before a judge, the right to confront your accusers, the right to an attorney, and the right to remain silent, among other rights. Talk to an attorney to understand your case and how to best protect your rights and your freedom.
Penalties for Gambling Under 21 in Atlantic City
Gambling under the age of 21 may not be considered a “crime,” but you can still face criminal penalties including high fines and jail time. Disorderly persons offenses are typically punished by up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000. For underaged gambling, there is also a minimum for the fine, meaning your fine will be set at at least $500. In addition to the fines and potential jail time, you could face additional penalties.
Even though the crime of underage gambling has nothing to do with driving, the penalties for this offense can include losing your driving privileges. A New Jersey underage gambling charge comes with a standard 6-month license suspension. If you are under 17 when you face this suspension, it will be tacked on after your 17th birthday and push back the date you are eligible to get a driver’s license until you are 17 1/2. If you have an out of state driver’s license, they will suspend your ability to drive in NJ for 6 months, and your home state may have its own penalties that suspend your license at home.
Underage Violations for Online Gambling in NJ
Online gambling is a hotly debated issue in New Jersey. Many casinos have online branches of their games so that people can submit bets without having to drive to Atlantic City. However, New Jersey only allows gambling if you are physically present in the state and may only authorize certain sites whose servers are housed within the city limits of Atlantic City to host games.
Ultimately, it may seem easier to sign up for an account to gamble underaged than to try to get into a casino. However, many online gambling services require identification information, Social Security numbers, or credit card numbers to sign up for an account. Falsifying this information could lead to other criminal charges, which might be more serious than underage gambling offenses. Talk to an attorney if you have been issued a citation or court summons for underaged online gambling.
Our Atlantic City Underage Gambling Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
If you or your child was arrested or charged with an offense for gambling under the age of 21, call our law offices today. The Atlantic City underage gambling defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych may be able to take your case and fight to have your charges dropped or dismissed. To schedule a free, confidential consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (609) 625-3006.