Video games, increasingly looked at as a way to have fun by people of all ages, is quickly becoming a cause of concern in Orange County. Some residents of Orange County are using video games to transform their private homes into illegal gambling arcades, and in doing so, they could be facing serious consequences.
Rise of Slaphouses in Orange County
Many homes in Southern California have set up arcade video game machines that can seat as many as six people so that players can bet money, gambling for hours on end while often engaging in drinking and drug use. These homes are becoming known as “slaphouses” because of the loud sounds people’s hands make when slapping down on the game controls.
These slaphouses reportedly originated in Garden Grove, catering to the Vietnamese community who would play them in coffee bars. The machines are designed to switch easily from innocent games like Street Fighter or Pac-Man to potentially illegal ones like poker and blackjack. In 2011, Garden Grove outlawed these games in coffee houses, causing the shift to homes.
Being able to switch from a game of poker to an actual video game makes it easier for the owners of the machines to conduct illegal activity and shut it off if they fear the authorities are about to enter their home. Having the gambling take place in homes also makes it more difficult for law enforcement to discover where the illegal activities are taking place.
Consequences of Illegal Gambling in California (PC 330)
Gambling may seem like a common activity in places like Las Vegas. Your place of business might even bet on March Madness or a fantasy league. However, these slaphouses can make tens of thousands of dollars in one night.
California Penal Code 330 makes it illegal to deal, play, or conduct a prohibited game. Prohibited games are considered “banking games” where a house or bank collects money from losers while paying winners, or “percentage games” where a house or bank collects a portion of total bets or winnings.
Violating PC 330 by illegally gambling is a misdemeanor in California. If convicted, you could face up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Under PC 337a, a slaphouse owner could be convicted of bookmaking because he or she owns the home where money is being collected and distributed. If you are convicted of bookmaking, you face up to 364 days in county jail and a fine of up to $15,000.
If the owners of these slaphouses were using these gaming machines to play casual games of Street Fighter or even poker, they would not be in violation of the law because there is no house taking or distributing money. But because illegal forms of gambling occur at these homes, the risks and penalties for violating the law become greater.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
Are you concerned about whether or not your gambling activities are violating the law? You should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience advising our clients and successfully defending them against criminal charges.
With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Ventura, Victorville and West Covina, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.