For years, people from across the nation and across the state of New Jersey have flocked to Atlantic City to take in the sights and sounds, especially the casinos. While some enjoy the city's numerous casinos for their shows, spas and dining experiences, the majority come for the sole purpose of gambling.
As enticing as the slot machines, blackjack tables, roulette wheels and poker tournaments can be to adults, they are perhaps even more so to young people. Indeed, the allure of the bright lights and prospect of hitting it big are sometimes so great that these young people gamble despite being legally prohibited by state law from doing so -- and the severe criminal consequences that can result.
What does state law say about underage gambling?
The Casino Control Act expressly dictates that any person under the age of 21 cannot gamble in any licensed casino in the state or any simulcast facility. In fact, the law essentially prohibits anyone under 21 from being physically present in a casino or simulcast facility unless they are passing through to another room.
What can happen to someone caught gambling under 21?
If casino security determines a person is under 21 and gambling illegally, the police will be contacted and the young person arrested. Underage gambling is treated as a disorderly persons offense.
A conviction will go on the young person's criminal record and the offense is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of between $500-$1,000, and a mandatory loss of driving privileges for six months.
What if the young person is too young to drive?
In the event a person is convicted, but under 17 and without a driver's license, they still won't escape the six-month suspension. Indeed, once they are eligible to secure a driver's license, any issuance will be postponed for six months.
What if the young person was with a parent?
It may come as a surprise to some people, but if a parent or custodian allows a young person to gamble, he or she may also be charged with a disorderly persons offense.
If you have been charged in connection with underage gambling or any other casino crime, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible as the consequences may be more severe than you realize.