Bookmaking is an offense that is taken very seriously in the State of Florida. As a result, anyone charged should seek the counsel of a Ft Lauderdale bookmaking lawyer to discuss their case and build a strong defense. Penalties for a conviction can include everything from fines to jail time, making it extremely important that an experienced defense attorney is contacted.
Definition of Bookmaking
Let’s begin by defining what the crime actually entails. No, you shouldn’t be afraid of the police coming after you for binding together pages of your original novel. According to Florida State Statute 849.25, 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. In other words, bookmaking refers to making or taking bets on the outcome of a wide range of events or contest (sport-related or otherwise).
S. 849.25 notes that a number of factors will be considered in making a determination over whether or not a person has engaged in the offense of bookmaking. These factors, which should result in contact with a Ft Lauderdale bookmaking lawyer, include:
- Taking advantage of betting odds created to produce a profit for the bookmaker or charging a percentage on accepted wagers;
- Placing all or part of accepted wagers with other bookmakers to reduce the chance of financial loss;
- Taking or receiving more than five wagers in any single day;
- Taking or receiving wagers totaling more than $500 in any single day, or more than $1,500 in any single week;
- Engaging in a common scheme with two or more persons to take or receive wagers;
- Taking or receiving wagers on both sides on a contest at the identical point spread; and
- Any other factor relevant to establishing that the operating procedures of such person are commercial in nature.
Florida state law holds that the existence of any two of the above-listed factors may constitute “prima facie evidence” of a commercial booking operation. Our Ft Lauderdale bookmaking attorneys know this means that if authorities can point to the existence of two or more of the above factors, they will consider that sufficient initial evidence that a bookmaking business is in existence. It’s important to note that prima facie evidence only refers to initial, “at first sight” analysis and is not indicative of any sort of binding court decision relating to any type of conviction or punishment. Still, having prima facie evidence of an event is likely to lead authorities to pursue a criminal case.
If you are charged with bookmaking, you face a third-degree felony, punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or up to 5 years in prison, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Further, the provisions of s. 948.01 (which deals with probation and community control) notwithstanding, anyone convicted under s. 849.25 shall not have adjudication of guilt suspended, deferred, or withheld.
Now, as far as repeat offenses go, anyone who has been convicted of bookmaking and thereafter violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a second-degree felony, punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and/or 15 years in prison, as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. (Again, notwithstanding the provisions of s. 948.01, any person convicted under the provisions of this subsection shall not have adjudication of guilt suspended, deferred, or withheld.)
Contacting a Ft Lauderdale Bookmaking Lawyer
Our Ft Lauderdale bookmaking attorneys know that anyone who is guilty of conspiracy to commit bookmaking shall be subject to the penalties described above, as applicable. Further, we know that s. 849.25 does not apply to pari-mutuel wagering (over legal horse racing, harness horse racing, greyhound racing, etc.) in the State of Florida, as authorized under chapter 500 of the Florida State Statutes.