Allowing Underage Gambling: A Criminal Offense in New Jersey

A parent or guardian who allows an underage person to gamble in Atlantic City, New Jersey is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. The statute which governs this charge is N.J.S. 5:12-119(c) which provides:

N.J. Stat. § 5:12-119 (2010) Gaming by certain persons prohibited; penalties; defenses

c. A person who knowingly allows or permits another person who is under his or her lawful care, custody, or control and who is under the age at which a person is authorized to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages to wager or attempt to wager in a licensed casino or simulcasting facility in violation of subsection a. of this section is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

As the above statute details, for the State to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt they must show (1) that the defendant knew that the underage individual was gambling; (2) that the underage individual is under the defendant’s legal care (meaning a parent or guardian); (3) that the underage individual was gambling on a casino floor; (4) that the underage individual is in fact under the legal age to gamble in New Jersey which is twenty-one (21).

As a result, even if a parent allows an underage individual to push the button on a slot machine on a casino floor while in the company of the parent, this is a violation of underage gambling laws by the minor and a violation of the above statute for allowing an underage person to gamble. These charges can have serious consequences and lead to a permanent criminal charge on your record. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you or a loved one has been charged with underage gambling or allowing an underage person to gamble.