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Illegal Gambling & Gaming
PC 330 -337a Law, Sentence & Defense

Illegal Gambling & Gaming crimes are found at California Penal Code sections 330-337.


There is a wide variety of crimes that may be considered illegal gambling or gaming, including permitting a poker game for money in your home, illegal lotteries, bookmaking, illegal fund raising with games of chance (Bingo, craps, roulette, slot machines, etc.), doping horses used for legal racing, bribing players or judges in sporting events, and even accepting a wager can all be considered illegal gambling or gaming under PC 330-337.

One of the most the common illegal gambling or gaming charge is found at PC 337a, bookmaking or wagering. Other gaming crimes, penalties, and defenses,  are discussed below.

In order for the District Attorney to prove that the defendant is guilty of PC 337a he or she must prove:

  • The defendant received or held money, or something of value, and

  • The defendant knew that is was given to him as a bet

bet is an agreement between two or more people that if an uncertain future event happens, the loser will pay something of value (usually money) to the winner. If the agreement is made on the outcome of a sporting event it is not necessary that the sporting event actually take place. The crime is complete upon the act of wagering or betting.

Of course, different gambling and gaming charges will require different elements which must be proved by the District Attorney. For example, PC 337a(a)(2) is charged for keeping a place for recording bets, whereas PC 337f(a) is charged for doping a race horse. Obviously, the two different crimes will have different types of evidence that is required to be proved by the district attorney before the defendant may be found guilty.

PC 330-337 Punishments

Most gambling and gaming charges can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony in California (wobbler crimes). For most misdemeanor convictions of illegal gambling or gaming the defendant could face up to a year in county jail. For all felony convictions of illegal gambling or gaming the defendant could face up to three years in prison.

Probation: Probation is period time in which the court or a felony probation officer monitors the defendant (as opposed to being incarcerated in jail or prison), Probation sentences may be ranted in PC 330 - 337  ass, but they are not guaranteed. Sometimes, the court will require some amount of community service, or house arrest as a condition of being granted a probation sentence.

Note: Whether or not the District Attorney charges misdemeanor or felony gambling or gaming charges depends on many factors, such as the amount of money and sophistication involved in the gambling or gaming, the criminal history of the defendant, and more.

PC 1170(h) Sentence: If the defendant is found guilty of PC 330a(a)(a) Engaging in Bookmaking, and not granted probation, then the defendant will be required to serve his or her incarceration in a state prison (as opposed to a local county jail), and that prison sentence ma not be split or suspended.

Three Strikes & CIMT: Felony illegal gaming or gambling crimes are not considered strike offenses under California Law; however, these crimes can be considered crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT), which may have a negative impact on a person's professional license (doctor, dentist, lawyer etc.), or immigration status (for non United States citizens).

In addition to any possible jail or prison sentence, possible consequences of a conviction for illegal gambling or gaming include possible probation, U.S. immigration consequences (for non-U.S. citizens only), professional license or occupational permit restrictions, denials, or revocations, monetary fines, stay-away orders (orders to stay away from certain persons or places), and more.

Defenses to Illegal Gambling

Common defenses to illegal gaming or gambling charges include: insufficient evidence to prove defendant placed a bet or wager, mistake of fact, entrapment, statute of limitations, coerced confessions, and more.

If you have been charged with illegal gambling or gaming under PC 330-337, contact our experienced and successful criminal defense attorneys today. There is no fee for initial consultations. Call today!


Related Crimes


  • PC 330a Conduct gaming (Charged as a misdemeanor with a sentence up to 180 days in jail)

  • PC 331 Permit Gaming in House (Charged as a misdemeanor with a sentence up to 180 days in jail)

  • PC 332 Obtain money by fraud through gaming (Charged as a misdemeanor with a sentence up to 1 year in jail)

  • PC 337a Pool selling/bookmaking/or wagering (Misdemeanor or felony with sentences discussed above)

  • PC 337a(a) Pool selling/bookmaking/or wagering w/prior (Charged as a misdemeanor with a sentence up to 1 year in jail)

  • PC 337(a)(1) Engage in bookmaking or pool selling (Charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony with a 1-3 year jail or prison sentence)

  • PC 337a(2) Maintaining a bookmaking place (Charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony with a 1-3 year jail or prison sentence)

  • PC 337a(6) Make or accept a wager (Charged as a Misdemeanor or as a felony with a 1-3 year jail sentence)

Quick Legal Reference​

Crime: Engage in Bookmaking (Illegal Gambling)

Code: PC 337a(a)(1) (CalCrim No. 2990)

Wobbler: Yes. PC 337a(a)(1) is a wobbler crime. This means that PC 337a(a)(1) is charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor.


Incarceration:Felony PC 337a(a)(1) prison sentence range: 16 months, 2 or 3 years (if probation not granted). Misdemeanor jail sentence up to 180 days.

Probation: Probation is allowed in felony and misdemeanor PC 337a(a)(1) cases (assuming enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​

PC 1170(h)): No. PC 337a(a)(1) is not subject to PC 1170(h) sentencing. This means that any incarceration ordered after a felony conviction, that is not part of a probation sentence, must be served in state prison (as opposed to a county jail), and the prison sentence may not be split or suspended.

Strike: PC 337a(a)(1) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.


Firearms: Felony PC 337a(a)(1) convictions prohibit a defendant from owning or possessing a firearm. 

Bail: $25,000 (Felony); $5,000 (Misdemeanor) (San Bernardino)

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