NRS 207.290 is the Nevada statute that prohibits sports bribery. This means to offer or accept compensation in exchange for influencing the outcome of a sporting event. As a category C felony, sports bribery carries one to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
A defendant can be convicted even if the person being bribed fails to comply with the terms of the bribe, or the game does not go as planned.
NRS 207.290 reads that “A person who:
1. Gives, offers or promises to give, or attempts to give or offer, any compensation, gratuity or thing of value, or any promise thereof, to any participant or player or any judge, referee, manager or other official of a sporting event or contest; or
2. Asks or receives or offers to receive directly or indirectly any compensation, gratuity, reward or thing of value or any promise thereof, as a participant or player, or as a judge, referee, manager or other official of a sporting event or contest,
with the intention, understanding or agreement that the player or participant or judge, referee, manager or other official of the sporting event will not use best efforts to win, or will so conduct himself or herself as to limit his or her or his or her team’s margin of victory, or will corruptly judge, referee, manage or otherwise officiate the sporting event or contest with the intention or purpose that the result of the sporting event will be affected thereby, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.”
With Las Vegas being a sports gambling Mecca, Nevada courts inevitably see many “sports bribery” cases where a player or umpire is offered or asks for money in exchange for “fixing” the final score. Unlike commercial bribery which is only a misdemeanor, sports bribery results in much heftier penalties.
The legal definition of sports bribery in Las Vegas, Nevada, is when someone offers, gives, accepts, or asks for any compensation with the intention that a player, referee, or other official of a sporting event will either:
- “not use best efforts to win, or
- so conduct himself or herself as to limit his or her or his or her team’s margin of victory, or
- corruptly judge, referee, manage or otherwise officiate the sporting event or contest with the intention or purpose that the result of the sporting event will be affected thereby.”
Therefore if an ordinary citizen gives an umpire money to make incorrect calls during a game, both the citizen and umpire may be charged with the Nevada crime of sports bribery. It does not make a difference if the umpire ultimately backs out and calls the game fairly — merely entering into the deal constitutes sports bribery.
Note that NRS 207.290 applies to all kinds of sports, such as:
- Car racing
Intent & Defenses
Because sports bribery in Nevada is an intent crime, you may not be convicted of it if you did not deliberately exchange compensation with the understanding that it was meant to influence the outcome of a sporting event. When fighting a sports bribery charge in Las Vegas, your attorney may try to show that you lacked the prerequisite intent or else that you were entrapped or coerced into the bribery.
Bribery in sporting contests is a federal crime as well as a state crime. Whether prosecutors will press state or federal charges in a sports bribery case typically turns on whether the alleged bribery affected or involved interstate commerce. (18 U.S.C. 224)
The Las Vegas crime of sports bribery is a category C felony in Nevada, mandating a sentence of:
- one to five years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe a fine of up to $10,000
If prosecutors elect to bring federal charges rather than Nevada state bribery charges, the punishment carries up to five years in prison and/or a fine.
Other bribery offenses
Sports bribery is only one kind of bribery offense in Nevada. Below are links to our other informational pages on Las Vegas bribery laws:
- Commercial Bribery (NRS 207.295)
- Bribery of/by Judges or Jurors (NRS 199.010 – .030)
- Bribery of/by Public Officials (NRS 197.010 – .40)
- Bribery of/by Witnesses (NRS 199.240 – .250)
For additional help…
If you have been charged with giving or accepting a bribe to influence the outcome of a sporting event in Nevada (NRS 207.290), then contact our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers today for a phone meeting to discuss your options. We will negotiate with prosecutors to try to get your case dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, and if necessary we will take your matter all the way to trial.
- Go to our Las Vegas Bribery Law main page