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Gambling Addiction and Crime

The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines recently paid a fine of $25,000 for offering perks and cash advances to compulsive gamblers who had voluntarily placed themselves on a state-maintained list barring them from the casinos. Indeed, it is well-recognized that a gambler may find it very difficult to control the desire to gamble and thus turns to external restraints to control the gambling impulse.

Gambling is an addiction

The most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, identified “gambling disorder” as a behavioral addiction. However, monetary crimes committed by a person with this disorder are not compelled by the addiction. Thus, the DSM-5’s diagnostic criteria for a gambling disorder were changed to eliminate the commission of crimes, such as forgery or embezzlement, except to the extent that they constitute a form of lying, which is characteristic of this disorder.

A gambling disorder is not a defense to criminal conduct

Under Illinois law, people may raise an insanity defense, claiming that they are not criminally responsible because a mental disease or defect prevented them from appreciating the wrongfulness of their conduct. The gambler claiming addiction is not claiming insanity, but is saying that the addiction fostered a need for money that could not be satisfied through ordinary, honest channels. Thus, when an Illinois defendant used more than $100,000 of a high school club’s money to bet on horses, the court refused to accept his insanity defense.

Gambling can be a mitigating factor at sentencing

Although a gambling defense may not help a defendant avoid conviction, it can be offered in mitigation of the sentence. In cases of embezzlement or theft, Illinois judges can take into consideration a number of factors in the minimization of a sentence of imprisonment, including restitution of the funds and rehabilitation. In this regard, the defendant should be prepared to demonstrate remorse for the criminal conduct, show that positive lifestyle changes have been made, make plans for the repayment of the wrongfully obtained funds, and describe the type of treatment plan the defendant plans to undertake.

Criminal allegations can have a major effect on your life, relationships, employment opportunities, and reputation. When the Law Offices of Paul Chatzky represents you, we provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions every step of the way.

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Paul Chatzky
Founder

About Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As…

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Deborah E. Chatzky
Paralegal

About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

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