Bookmaking, Pool-Selling and Wagering in California
(Penal Code 337a PC)

Penal Code 337a PC makes it a California crime to engage in the following activities, all of which are associated with gambling:

  1. Bookmaking;
  2. Pool-selling;
  3. Occupying any building, room or other enclosed space for the purpose of recording bets;
  4. Receiving, holding or forwarding money or other items of value that are being wagered in a bet;
  5. Recording or registering bets;
  6. Permitting a space that you own, lease or occupy to be used for any of the other activities prohibited by this law; and
  7. In some cases, placing or accepting bets.1

Participating in betting or wagering in any of these ways is a crime under California's bookmaking/pool-selling/wagering law—even if you did so on fair and honest terms. It is not necessary that you engage in Penal Code 332 PC gambling fraud, for example. 

377a_bookmaking
California's bookmaking law ensnares both professional "bookies" and people who have a much more casual engagement with wagering.

Examples

Here are some examples of people who might be charged under California Penal Code 337a:

  • A man makes a living by taking, recording and paying out bets on horse races.
  • A woman begins dating a man who is involved in a dogfighting ring. As a favor to him, she collects money from people in their neighborhood who are betting on the outcomes of dog fights and brings the money to him.
  • A woman owns a commercial building. She knowingly rents some of the space to a criminal gang that engages in bookmaking on the premises.

Penalties

PC 337a bookmaking/pool-selling/wagering is what is known as a “wobbler” in California law. This means that it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, at the prosecutor's discretion.2

Bookmaking as a misdemeanor carries a potential county jail sentence of up to one (1) year.3

Charged as a felony, California bookmaking or pool-selling can lead to a state prison sentence of sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years.4

Legal defenses

California's bookmaking law is far-reaching and harsh. Because it punishes people who are not themselves “bookies,” many defendant are shocked to find that they are facing charges under this law.

Our California criminal defense lawyers are familiar with the most common helpful legal defenses against bookmaking or wagering charges. Depending on the circumstances, these might include:

  • You acted under duress; and/or
  • There is insufficient evidence to convict you.
Lawyer_law_tools-optimized
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help identify the best defenses to bookmaking/pool-selling charges.

In order to help you better understand the California crime of mayhem, our California criminal defense attorneys will address the following:

1. Legal Definition of Bookmaking/Pool-Selling/Wagering

1.1. Bookmaking and pool-selling
1.2. Occupying a space for bookmaking or pool-selling
1.3. Receiving, holding or forwarding money for betting
1.4. Recording or registering bets or wagers
1.5. Letting someone else use your property for bookmaking
1.6. Making, offering or accepting bets
1.7. Exception for participation in minor betting pools

2. Penalties for Penal Code 337a PC Bookmaking

3. Legal Defenses to PC 337a Charges

4. California Bookmaking/Pool-Selling and Related Offenses

4.1. Penal Code 330 gaming
4.2. Penal Code 332 gambling fraud
4.3. California's gang enhancement (Penal Code 186.22)

If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

1. Legal Definition of Bookmaking/Pool-Selling/Wagering

California's bookmaking law, Penal Code 337a PC, has multiple sections which cover a range of behavior related to betting/wagering.

1.1. Bookmaking and pool-selling

First of all, California Penal Code 337a makes it a crime to engage in either of:

  1. Bookmaking; or
  2. Pool-selling.5

“Bookmaking” is defined as the taking of bets, either orally (through speech) or recorded in writing.6 “Pool-selling” is the act of selling or distributing shares or chances in a betting pool.7

A “bet” is a wager or agreement between two or more people that, if an uncertain future event occurs, the loser will pay money to the winner or give him/her something of value. A bet is deemed to have occurred even if the event never takes place.8

The vast majority of betting is done on the outcome of sporting events—but it can be done on other events (such as political elections or even the weather) as well.

377a_horseracing
Bookmaking often occurs in connection with horse racing or other sporting events.

In order to be guilty of the crime of either bookmaking or pool-selling, you need to have knowingly engaged in that activity.9

Also, you can be guilty of bookmaking or pool-selling even if these activities are not your business or occupation. Engaging in them just once is enough to violate PC 337a.10

Example: Ricardo is a high school math teacher. He has been reading books about how bookies make money and is fascinated by the mathematics of gambling.

Ricardo often watches boxing at a sports bar after work. He decides to organize a betting pool that he will open up to other regulars at the bar. So he takes and records bets on a series of upcoming boxing matches.

He structures the pool so that he makes money no matter the outcome of the matches, but he is motivated less by the money than by an interest in how the statistics of the betting will work.

Ricardo is guilty of bookmaking even though he is not a professional “bookie” and has no intention of becoming one.

1.2. Occupying a space for bookmaking or pool-selling

You can also be prosecuted under California's bookmaking law if all of the following are true:

  1. You keep or occupy a place for any period of time;
  2. You keep or occupy that place for the purpose of recording or registering bets or shares in a betting pool;
  3. The place contains a book, paper, apparatus, device or paraphernalia for recording or registering bets or shares in a betting pool; and
  4. You possess those items for the purpose of recording or registering bets or shares in a betting pool.11

A “place” can mean the whole or part of any room, building, stand or stall, shed, tent, vehicle, vessel, or enclosure of any kind.12

Example: Carl decides he wants to make money by taking bets on the outcomes of major sporting events.

He buys an Airstream trailer and sets it up on a remote country road. He purchases office supplies and a computer and installs them in the trailer. Carl's plan is to run his bookmaking operation out of the trailer; he thinks the discreet location will make people comfortable coming to him to place bets.

Carl's mother finds out about his plans and notifies police before he can take any bets.

Carl can be charged with bookmaking under Penal Code 337a even though he hasn't actually handled any bets yet—because he occupied the trailer and placed bookmaking paraphernalia in it.

1.3. Receiving, holding or forwarding money for betting

You can also be guilty under California's pool-selling law if:

  1. You receive, hold or forward money or something valuable; and
  2. You know that the money or item of value was given to you as a bet.13 
    Money-optimized
    Handling money for a bookie can lead to charges under Penal Code 337a.

Example: Al is caught by police in a car with various envelopes. Each envelope has a person's name on it and contains money and written notes about that person's bet on a horse race.

Al claims that he did not know what was in the envelopes and was just delivering them at the request of a friend.

Unless the prosecutor can prove that Al knew that he was carrying money that was being wagered, he is not guilty of Penal Code 337a forwarding money for wagering.14

1.4. Recording or registering bets or wagers

Another way to violate California's bookmaking law is to knowingly record or register a bet.15

Recording or registering a bet means making a notation on paper, or any other material or device, to allow winnings on the bet to be distributed in the future. It does not have to be the kind of recording used in a regular business establishment.16

This section of Penal Code 337a allows prosecutors to convict not just the “bookies” who run bookmaking operations—but also anyone who assists them by doing more mundane tasks like taking down betters' names and their bets.

1.5. Letting someone else use your property for bookmaking

A defendant may also be guilty under California's pool-selling, bookmaking and wagering law if:

  1. The defendant owns, rents or occupies a place;
  2. The defendant allows the place to be used for bookmaking, pool-selling, recording or registering bets, or receiving, holding or forwarding bets; and
  3. The defendant knows the place is being used for that purpose.17

In other words, you can be guilty of bookmaking if you knowingly let someone else engage in bookmaking activities in a place—house, apartment, office, hotel room—that you own, rent or otherwise control.

Example: Marissa's brother Bob has just been released from jail after serving a brief county jail sentence for drug possession for sale. Marissa lets Bob live in her refinished basement while he is looking for a job.

Marissa knows that Bob likes to run a high-stakes betting pool during college basketball season with his friends. This year, Bob is running the betting pool out of her basement and is structuring it in such a way that, like a bookie, he profits no matter who wins the bets.

Marissa knows about this and figures it is fine, since it gives Robert a chance to make a little money while he looks for work.

But under PC 337a, Marissa could be guilty of bookmaking for knowingly letting Robert use part of her house for the betting pool.

1.6. Making, offering or accepting bets

Finally, California's wagering and bookmaking law makes it a crime to knowingly make, offer or accept a bet—in other words, to participate in a wagering scheme merely as a gambler.18

1.7. Exception for participation in minor betting pools

Fortunately, another California law makes it clear that ordinary participants in friendly betting pools or wagering games will not usually be punished under California's bookmaking law.

377a_sportsbettingcoffee
Participation in minor betting pools will usually not be punished under California Penal Code 337a PC.

Penal Code 336.9 PC provides that you will not be prosecuted under PC 337a if you participate in any bet, wager or betting pool AND all of the following are true:

  1. You are not acting for gain, hire or reward, other than that at stake under conditions available to every participant;
  2. None of the other participants in the pool is acting for gain, hire, or reward, other than that at stake under conditions available to every participant;
  3. You are not acting as a bookmaker or pool-seller;
  4. The bet, wager or betting pool is not online; and
  5. There is not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) at stake in the betting pool.19

People who are involved in wagering in this way are guilty only of a California infraction. The maximum penalty is a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250).20

Example: Susan is a college student and football fan. She and five of her friends form a “Fantasy Football” league every year. They usually bet $200 apiece, which means the total pool is $1200.

Susan lives with her mother Alice. Alice knows about the Fantasy Football league and lets Susan carry out its activities in her house.

Susan, her friends and Alice are all technically violating PC 337a. But because there are no “bookies” profiting from the betting and the pool is less than $2500, they are all guilty only of an infraction under Penal Code 336.9 PC.

2. Penalties for Penal Code 337a PC Bookmaking

Bookmaking/pool-selling/wagering is what is known as a “wobbler.” A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, at the prosecutor's discretion.21

Prosecutors usually chose whether to pursue misdemeanor or felony penalties for a wobbler crime based on:

  1. The defendant's criminal history; and/or
  2. The circumstances of the alleged offense.

When it is charged as a misdemeanor, California bookmaking carries the following penalties:

Charged as a felony, California bookmaking carries the following potential penalties:

Second and subsequent offenses

377a_criminalfine
If this is not your first offense, a California bookmaking conviction can carry a fairly hefty fine.

The penalty scheme for Penal Code 337a PC becomes more severe if this is not your first conviction for this offense.

Specifically, if you have one (1) prior conviction for this offense on your record, and you do not receive a state prison sentence for this conviction, then you must do either or both of:

  1. Serve a term of no more than one (1) year in county jail; or
  2. Pay a fine of at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) and no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).24

The maximum required fine increases to fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) if you have two (2) or more prior convictions for violating California Penal Code 337a.25

This requirement applies even if you are sentenced to probation for this latest bookmaking conviction.26

3. Legal Defenses to PC 337a Charges

California's bookmaking law may have been designed to catch and penalize serious “bookies.” But in fact the law ensnares far too many people who were only slightly involved in gambling operations—or who did not even commit the acts they are alleged to have committed!

In the experience of our California criminal defense attorneys, the most commonly effective legal defenses against Penal Code 337a PC charges include:

Duress

The legal defense of duress means that you are not guilty of a crime if someone else made you do it.

To successfully assert this defense, you need to have committed a crime only because somebody threatened to kill (or, possibly, inflict serious bodily harm on) you or a third person if you didn't commit the crime.27 This has to have been a credible threat, so that you reasonably believed that your or someone else's life was in immediate danger.28

According to Newport Beach criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse29:

“The most common scenario in which the duress defense applies to bookmaking charges goes like this: A person who sometimes gambles ends up owing money to a ‘bookie' and can't pay. The bookie threatens them with physical violence. In order to prevent harm to themselves or their family, the person agrees to do a few favors for the bookie—maybe recording bets or delivering betting documents or money. Then that person is caught and charged with bookmaking.”

If you got involved with bookmaking or pool-selling operations because of a credible fear of physical harm, you should not be found guilty of this crime.

Insufficient evidence

377a_sportsbetting
Insufficient evidence is a common defense to bookmaking / pool-selling charges.

You are not guilty under California Penal Code 337a unless the prosecutor can prove—beyond a reasonable doubt—that your behavior met the legal definition of this crime.

Bookmaking, pool-selling and organized gambling tend to be complicated operations. It is a lot of work for prosecutors to assemble a “paper trail” that conclusively shows that this sort of behavior occurred.

Moreover, Penal Code 337a PC requires prosecutors to show that defendants engaged in bookmaking or pool-selling knowingly.

Because of the difficulty of assembling sufficient evidence to get a conviction on bookmaking charges, prosecutors are often willing to negotiate a reduction of the charges with a criminal defense attorney who understands the potential holes in their case.

4. California Bookmaking/Pool-Selling and Related Offenses

Other California crimes that are often charged along with or instead of bookmaking/pool-selling include:

4.1. Penal Code 330 gaming

Penal Code 330 PC, California's gaming law, makes it a crime to deal, play, carry on, or conduct card or dice games for money, provided that such games are either "banking" or "percentage" games where a "house" acts as banker or takes a cut of the bets.30

Like Penal Code 337a PC, California's gaming law imposes criminal penalties for participating in or running gambling activities that—whether authorities like it or not—are popular with many people.

Gaming in violation of PC 330 is a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum six (6) months in county jail and/or a fine of between one hundred dollars ($100) and one thousand dollars ($1,000).31

4.2. Penal Code 332 gambling fraud
332_pokercheat
Gambling fraud is a related offense to PC 337a bookmaking.

Under California Penal Code 332, it is a California theft crime to fraudulently obtain someone else's money or property through any of the following:

· Card games or tricks such as “three card monte”;

  • Betting or gambling; or
  • Pretensions to fortune-telling.32

Note that California's gambling fraud law does not prohibit gambling per se. Instead, it prohibits card tricks, stacked decks, schemes designed to trick people into betting on a “sure thing,” and similar activities.

Gaming or gambling fraud is a wobbler if you defraud someone of property worth more than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), and a misdemeanor if the money or property obtained by fraud is $950 or less.33

4.3. California's gang enhancement (Penal Code 186.22)

Penal Code 186.22 PC, California's criminal street gang enhancement , adds an additional penalty for any felony (or attempted felony) that is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote, further, or assist in criminal conduct by gang members.34

So if you are charged with bookmaking as a felony, and you are alleged to have engaged in these activities for the benefit of or in association with a criminal gang, you may have to worry about the impact of the street gang enhancement on your potential sentence.

Call us for help…
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For questions about the crimes of Penal Code 337a PC bookmaking/pool-selling/wagering, or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our California criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

We have local criminal law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

Additional Resources:

California Gambling Control Commission

California Office of the Attorney General, Bureau of Gambling Control

Legal References:


1 Penal Code 337a PC – Bookmaking or pool selling; keeping or occupying place with paraphernalia for recording wagers, etc.; stake holding; recording wagers; permitting unlawful use of room or enclosure; making or accepting wagers; prior convictions; punishment; application of section. (“(a) Except as provided in Section 336.9, every person who engages in one of the following offenses, shall be punished for a first offense by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year or in the state prison, or by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both imprisonment and fine: (1) Pool selling or bookmaking, with or without writing, at any time or place. (2) Whether for gain, hire, reward, or gratuitously, or otherwise, keeps or occupies, for any period of time whatsoever, any room, shed, tenement, tent, booth, building, float, vessel, place, stand or enclosure, of any kind, or any part thereof, with a book or books, paper or papers, apparatus, device or paraphernalia, for the purpose of recording or registering any bet or bets, any purported bet or bets, wager or wagers, any purported wager or wagers, selling pools, or purported pools, upon the result, or purported result, of any trial, purported trial, contest, or purported contest, of skill, speed or power of endurance of person or animal, or between persons, animals, or mechanical apparatus, or upon the result, or purported result, of any lot, chance, casualty, unknown or contingent event whatsoever. (3) Whether for gain, hire, reward, or gratuitously, or otherwise, receives, holds, or forwards, or purports or pretends to receive, hold, or forward, in any manner whatsoever, any money, thing or consideration of value, or the equivalent or memorandum thereof, staked, pledged, bet or wagered, or to be staked, pledged, bet or wagered, or offered for the purpose of being staked, pledged, bet or wagered, upon the result, or purported result, of any trial, or purported trial, or contest, or purported contest, of skill, speed or power of endurance of person or animal, or between persons, animals, or mechanical apparatus, or upon the result, or purported result, of any lot, chance, casualty, unknown or contingent event whatsoever. (4) Whether for gain, hire, reward, or gratuitously, or otherwise, at any time or place, records, or registers any bet or bets, wager or wagers, upon the result, or purported result, of any trial, or purported trial, or contest, or purported contest, of skill, speed or power of endurance of person or animal, or between persons, animals, or mechanical apparatus, or upon the result, or purported result, of any lot, chance, casualty, unknown or contingent event whatsoever. (5) Being the owner, lessee or occupant of any room, shed, tenement, tent, booth, building, float, vessel, place, stand, enclosure or grounds, or any part thereof, whether for gain, hire, reward, or gratuitously, or otherwise, permits that space to be used or occupied for any purpose, or in any manner prohibited by paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4). (6) Lays, makes, offers or accepts any bet or bets, or wager or wagers, upon the result, or purported result, of any trial, or purported trial, or contest, or purported contest, of skill, speed or power of endurance of person or animal, or between persons, animals, or mechanical apparatus.”)

2 Same.

3 Same.

4 Same.

See also Penal Code 18 PC – Punishment for felony not otherwise prescribed; alternate sentence to county jail. (“(a) Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by any law of this state, every offense declared to be a felony [such as felony bookmaking] is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months, or two or three years in the state prison unless the offense is punishable pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”)

5 Same.

6 Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (“CALCRIM”) 2990 – Bookmaking (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(1)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with bookmaking [in violation of Penal Code section 337a(a)(1)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant engaged in bookmaking; AND 2 When the defendant acted, (he/she) knew that (he/she) was engaging in bookmaking. Bookmaking includes the taking of bets, either orally or recorded in writing. The defendant does not need to be involved in betting as a business or occupation. The taking of one bet is sufficient.”)

7 CALCRIM 2991 – Pool Selling (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(1)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with pool selling [in violation of Penal Code section 337a(a)(1)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant sold or distributed shares or chances in a betting pool; AND 2 When (he/she) acted, the defendant knew that (he/she) was selling or distributing shares or chances in a betting pool. The defendant does not need to be involved in selling or distributing shares or chances as a business or occupation. A single act that violates the statute is sufficient. [It is not necessary that the event that is the subject of a betting pool actually take place.]”)

8 CALCRIM 2990 – Bookmaking (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(1)). (“A bet is a wager or agreement between two or more people that if an uncertain future event happens, the loser will (pay money to the winner/ [or] give the winner something of value). [A bet includes a wager made on the outcome of any actual or purported event, including but not limited to any kind of sporting contest [or <insert description of event from Pen. Code,§ 337a>].] [It is not necessary that the event that was bet on actually take place.]”)

9 CALCRIM 2990 – Bookmaking (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(1)), endnote 6, above; CALCRIM 2991 – Pool Selling (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(1)), endnote 7, above.

10 Same.

11 CALCRIM 2992 – Keeping a Place for Recording Bets (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(2)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with keeping a place for the purpose of recording [or registering] bets or shares in a betting pool [in violation of Penal Code section 337a(a)(2)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant kept or occupied a place for any period of time; 2 The defendant kept or occupied the place for the purpose of recording [or registering] bets or shares in a betting pool; 3 The place contained [(a/an)] (book[,]/ [or] paper[,]/ [or] apparatus[,]/ [or] device[,]/ [or] paraphernalia) to record [or register] bets or shares in a betting pool; AND 4 The defendant possessed the (book[,]/ [or] paper[,]/ [or] apparatus[,]/ [or] device[,]/ [or] paraphernalia) for the purpose of recording [or registering] bets or shares in a betting pool.”)

12 CALCRIM 2992 – Keeping a Place for Recording Bets (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(2)). (“As used here, a place means the whole or part of any (room[,]/ [or] building[,]/ [or] stand[,]/ [or] shed[,]/ [or] tenement[,]/ [or] tent[,]/ [or] booth[,]/ [or] float[,]/ [or] vessel[,]/ [or] vehicle[,]/ [or] enclosure) of any kind.”)

13 CALCRIM 2993 – Receiving or Holding Bets (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(3)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with (receiving[,]/ [or] holding[,]/ [or] forwarding) bets [in violation of Penal Code section 337a(a)(3)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant (received[,]/ [or] held[,]/ [or] forwarded) money [or something valuable]; AND 2 The defendant knew that it was given to (him/her) as a bet.”)

14 Based on the facts of People v. Coppla (1950) 100 Cal.App.2d 766.

15 CALCRIM 2994 – Recording Bets (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(4)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with recording [or registering] a bet [in violation of Penal Code section 337a(a)(4)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant recorded [or registered] a bet; AND 2 When the defendant acted, (he/she) knew that (he/she) was recording or registering a bet. . . . Recording [or registering] a bet means making a notation on paper, or using any other material or device, to allow winnings on the bet to be distributed in the future. [Recording [or registering] a bet does not require the type of registering or recording that occurs in a legitimate business establishment.]”)

16 Same.

17 CALCRIM 2995 – Permitting Place to Be Used for Betting Activities (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(5)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with permitting a place to be used for betting activities [in violation of Penal Code section 337a(a)(5)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant owned, rented, or occupied a place; 2 The defendant allowed the place to be used for (bookmaking[,]/ [or] pool selling[,]/ [or] recording [or registering] bets[,]/ [or] receiving, holding, or forwarding bets); AND 3 The defendant knew that the place was being used for that purpose. As used here, a place means the whole or part of any (room[,]/ [or] building[,]/ [or] stand[,]/ [or] shed[,]/ [or] tenement[,]/ [or] tent[,]/ [or] booth[,]/ [or] float[,]/ [or] vessel[,]/ [or] vehicle[,]/ [or] enclosure) of any kind.”)

18 CALCRIM 2996 – Betting or Wagering (Pen. Code, § 337a(a)(6)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with (making[,]/ [or] offering[,]/ or accepting) a bet [in violation of Penal Code section 337a(a)(6)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant (made[,]/ [or] offered[,]/ or accepted) a bet; AND 2 The defendant knew that (he/she) was (making[,]/ [or] offering[,]/ or accepting) a bet.”)

19 Penal Code 336.9 PC – Unlawful bets, wagers, or betting pools; exclusions. (“(a) Notwithstanding Section 337a, and except as provided in subdivision (b), any person who, not for gain, hire, or reward other than that at stake under conditions available to every participant, knowingly participates in any of the ways specified in paragraph (2), (3),(4), (5), or (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 337a in any bet, bets, wager, wagers, or betting pool or pools made between the person and any other person or group of persons who are not acting for gain, hire, or reward, other than that at stake under conditions available to every participant, upon the result of any lawful trial, or purported trial, or contest, or purported contest, of skill, speed, or power of endurance of person or animal, or between persons, animals, or mechanical apparatus, is guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250). (b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to either of the following situations: (1) Any bet, bets, wager, wagers, or betting pool or pools made online. (2) Betting pools with more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) at stake.”)

20 Same.

21 Penal Code 337a PC – Bookmaking or pool selling; keeping or occupying place with paraphernalia for recording wagers, etc.; stake holding; recording wagers; permitting unlawful use of room or enclosure; making or accepting wagers; prior convictions; punishment; application of section, endnote 1 above.

22 Same.

23 Same.

24 Penal Code 337a PC – Bookmaking or pool selling; keeping or occupying place with paraphernalia for recording wagers, etc.; stake holding; recording wagers; permitting unlawful use of room or enclosure; making or accepting wagers; prior convictions; punishment; application of section. (“(b) In any accusatory pleading charging a violation of this section, if the defendant has been once previously convicted of a violation of any subdivision of this section, the previous conviction shall be charged in the accusatory pleading, and, if the previous conviction is found to be true by the jury, upon a jury trial, or by the court, upon a court trial, or is admitted by the defendant, the defendant shall, if he or she is not imprisoned in the state prison, be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not more than one year and pay a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit a court from placing a person subject to this subdivision on probation. However, that person shall be required to pay a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not more than one year, as a condition thereof. In no event does the court have the power to absolve a person convicted pursuant to this subdivision from either being imprisoned or from paying a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). (c) In any accusatory pleading charging a violation of this section, if the defendant has been previously convicted two or more times of a violation of any subdivision of this section, each previous conviction shall be charged in the accusatory pleadings. If two or more of the previous convictions are found to be true by the jury, upon a jury trial, or by the court, upon a court trial, or are admitted by the defendant, the defendant shall, if he or she is not imprisoned in the state prison, be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not more than one year or pay a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000), or be punished by both imprisonment and fine. Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit a court from placing a person subject to this subdivision on probation. However, that person shall be required to pay a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000), or be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not more than one year as a condition thereof. In no event does the court have the power to absolve a person convicted and subject to this subdivision from either being imprisoned or from paying a fine of not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).”)

25 Same.

26 Same.

27 CALCRIM 3402 – Duress or threats [can be a valid defense to California pool-selling or bookmaking charges]. (“The defendant acted under duress if, because of threat or menace, (he/she) believed that (his/her/ [or] someone else's) life would be in immediate danger if (he/she) refused a demand or request to commit the crime[s]. . . . The defendant's belief that (his/her/ [or] someone else's) life was in immediate danger must have been reasonable. When deciding whether the defendant's belief was reasonable, consider all the circumstances as they were known to and appeared to the defendant and consider what a reasonable person in the same position as the defendant would have believed.”)

28 Same.

29 Newport Beach criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse is a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney with many years of criminal trial and appeals experience on cases ranging from DUIs and bookmaking charges to complex, high profile murders. Mr. Shouse represents clients at a number of locations of the California courts.

30 Penal Code 330 PC— Prohibited games; punishment [related offense to Penal Code 337a bookmaking]. (“Every person who deals, plays, or carries on, opens, or causes to be opened, or who conducts, either as owner or employee, whether for hire or not, any game of faro, monte, roulette, lansquenet, rouge et noire, rondo, tan, fan-tan, seven-and-a-half, twenty-one, hokey-pokey, or any banking or percentage game played with cards, dice, or any device, for money, checks, credit, or other representative of value, and every person who plays or bets at or against any of those prohibited games, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punishable by a fine not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment.”)

31 Same.

32 Penal Code 332 PC – Three card monte and other games or bets; fraudulently obtaining money or property from another person; punishment [related offense to Penal Code 337a bookmaking]. (“(a) Every person who by the game of “three card monte,” so-called, or any other game, device, sleight of hand, pretensions to fortune telling, trick, or other means whatever, by use of cards or other implements or instruments, or while betting on sides or hands of any play or game, fraudulently obtains from another person money or property of any description, shall be punished as in the case of larceny of property of like value for the first offense, except that the fine may not exceed more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).A second offense of this section is punishable, as in the case of larceny, except that the fine shall not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both imprisonment and fine. (b) For the purposes of this section, “fraudulently obtains” includes, but is not limited to, cheating, including, for example, gaining an unfair advantage for any player in any game through a technique or device not sanctioned by the rules of the game. (c) For the purposes of establishing the value of property under this section, poker chips, tokens, or markers have the monetary value assigned to them by the players in any game.”)

33 Penal Code 487 PC – “Grand theft” defined; Penal Code 489 PC – Grand theft; punishment [compare to penalties for bookmaking or pool-selling].

See also Penal Code 488 PC – Petty theft defined; Penal Code 490 PC – Petty theft; punishment.

34 Penal Code 186.22 PC – Participation in a criminal street gang; penalty [may enhance the sentence for bookmaking/pool-selling/wagering].

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