Illegal Gambling

Illegal Gambling- Engaging in Organized CrimeHarris County, Houston, Texas Illegal Gambling Attorney

Online gambling is an industry in the United States and there is a fine line between what is legal and what is illegal.  This industry is driven by people placing bets online.  People wager on professional and college sports through sites and bookies regularly or play slots, poker or black jack in gambling rooms..  Regardless of its popularity,  gamblers, bookies, or the webmasters who run the sites could face state or federal criminal consequences if the government deems the activity is in violation of the law.  Paul Doyle has experience defending those charged with illegal gaming or gambling operations.  In the event an investigator requests to speak to you about gambling, you should call Paul Doyle first. 

Federal Violations:  Wire Wager Act (WWA)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation through the Department of Justice takes the position that the WWA criminalizes gambling or gaming organizations that use the internet to gamble online. Many gambling outfits tried to avoid these laws by establishing the business off shore. The government has criminalized this and creates jurisdiction by the location the wager is placed or the money is exchanged.  The government also looks for Foreign Bank Account Report violations to attack illegal off shore gambling.  Placing a bet online could result in one or more of the following federal criminal charges:

  • Foreign Bank Account Report violations
  • Wire Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Tax Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Engaging In Organized Crime
  • Structuring
  • Illegal Gambling

The Federal Wire Wager Act has been used to prosecute illegal online gambling. Once again, it’s wise to consult with an illegal online gambling lawyer before establishing a gaming website or placing online bets. Violation of federal gambling laws can result in a lengthy prison sentence, fines and forfeiture of assets.


Gambling can also be known as “gaming.”  The laws that relate to gaming vary from state to state.  The term gaming can be a legal term of art that is distinguished from gambling.  Gambling is associated with sports wagering, while gaming is associated with card games, dice, slot machines or roulette.  In Texas, most forms of gambling or gaming are illegal.  In terms of sports betting, if a person charges “juice” on a bet, the bet is considered illegal. The state law also prohibits slot machines from paying out more than a limited amount of money in winnings.  Governmental agencies typically send in undercover officers to play the machines in game rooms to attempt to make a case.  In the past, law enforcement would either seize the machines and any money associated with the machines.  Recently, state law enforcement agencies are using Chapter 71 of the Texas Penal Code to create larger scale investigations which result in felony charges and huge sums of money being seized. 

Engaging in Organized Crime Chapter 71 of the Texas Penal Code (imbed this link

Chapter 71 of the Texas Penal Code provides a road map for criminal felony charges related to gambling.  Investigators look for people working together profiting from Illegal Gambling.  Law enforcement will take the Illegal Gambling statute (Chapter 47 of the Texas Penal Code imbed this link  and use the Engaging in Organized Crime statute to create a felony charge.  This increases exposure for those accused and creates leverage on the asset forfeiture end.  Law enforcement will charge the targets with the felony crime while simultaneously seizing/freezing all assets associated with both the businesses and your personal accounts.  Law enforcement has the ability to identify bank accounts with the individuals charged.  These accounts include personal accounts and safety deposit boxes. 

The law related to illegal gambling is evolving.  There is not a clear understanding of the constitutionality of many of the statutes because they were rarely prosecuted. An individual should seek legal advice and proceed with caution before entering into a wager or gambling. It is imperative that you see guidance before exposing yourself or your business to a criminal investigation.  Paul Doyle can provide legal advice to answer questions related to businesses and investigations.  Make sure and call Paul Doyle before the investigation is too far down the road.

It is imperative that you call Paul Doyle before talking to an Online Gambling or gaming investigator, Paul Doyle can be reached at 713.228.9200.