An estimated two to three percent of the US population is at risk for developing a gambling disorder; between 150,000 and 220,000 individuals may be at risk in Arizona alone.
Gambling-motivated criminal activities typically result in non-dangerous, white collar offenses, often committed by first-time defendants. Criminal charges typically include theft, embezzlement, identity theft, fraudulent schemes, and extortion. Other gambling-related charges could be trafficking stolen goods, domestic violence, assault, and solicitation. Given the progressive nature of compulsive gambling, multiple counts of similar charges, incurred over an extended period of time, are commonplace.
Arizonans who commit gambling-motivated crimes include students, teachers, housewives, grandparents, journalists, healthcare professionals, lawyers, entertainers, business owners, drug addicts, mechanics, judges, PhDs, college dropouts, bankers, insurance brokers, casino employees, retirees, and individuals from any other profession or walk of life imaginable.
Incarcerating someone who has an untreated gambling disorder invariably leads to his/her continuing to gamble in jail or prison and upon release. The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry (ADCRR) does not screen inmates for gambling disorder (only for alcohol and substance use disorders) and has no obligation to provide treatment. In most prisons, county jails and detention facilities, inmate gambling is considered a minor violation and is rarely disciplined unless it leads to disruption or injury.
Gambling disorder, the “other” addiction, goes undetected, unchecked, and untreated.
ACCG will work directly with you to gather personal history that will be vitally important to your defense.
If you need an attorney, ACCG can help you find one that has gambling-motivated criminal case experience.
Follow ACCG's checklist of pre-trial actions; it will help your attorney build and strengthen your defense.
ACCG can prepare a strong mitigation package to raise the judge’s awareness of gambling disorder as an addiction.
ACCG can accompany you to mitigation conferences and speak on your behalf at sentencing
We cannot guarantee specific outcomes, but we will do our best and you will not be alone.
ACCG takes a problem-solving approach to every case. We work directly with each defendant (and his/her attorney or public defender, if available) to gather history, assess needs, discuss options, and develop a plan of action.
If you do not already have an attorney, we may be able to refer you to one who has gambling-motivated criminal defense experience. We will provide you with our Defendant Checklist (a list of proactive pre-trial actions you can take to strengthen your defense). We will prepare and submit a strong mitigation package to raise the judge’s awareness of gambling disorder as an addiction prior to sentencing. We will accompany you to mitigation conferences, and speak on your behalf at sentencing.
ACCG's success with this approach is evidenced in the following examples.
The cases are real but the names of the defendants have been changed to ensure anonymity.
In each case, the defendant received a reduced sentence.
Charge: Theft, Felony 4 (Plea Offer 1.5-3 years)
Details: Over a 30-month period, a 58-year old grandmother siphoned $100K from her former employer, a nonprofit children's organization, to support her gambling.
Aggravating Factors: Victims requested minimum sentence of one (1) year in prison.
Mitigating Factors: Outpatient counseling, GA, 10-year casino self-exclusion, strong support from new employer.
Sentence: Six (6) months MCSO jail on work furlough and six (6) years probation.
Outcome: Defendant completed probation and is repaying restitution.
Charge: Count 1 –Theft, Felony 4; Count 2 – Fraudulent Schemes/Artifices, Felony 2
Details: Theft & pawning of police body cams and automatic weapons for gambling.
Aggravating Factors: Multiple offenses on each count.
Mitigating Factors: DSM-5, documented ACEs, 10-year casino self-exclusion, Everi STeP program, ability to repay stipulated restitution in full.
Sentence: Count 1 - one (1) year prison; Count 2 - three (3) years probation.
Outcome: Served five (5) months in state prison w/early release to reentry program.
Charge: Count 1 –Fraudulent Schemes/Artifices, Felony 2; Count 2 – Theft, Felony 4
Details: Over a two-year period, this single, 32-year old accountant embezzled $94K to fund her gambling addiction.
Aggravating Factors: Multiple offenses on Count 2.
Mitigating Factors: 10-year self-exclusion, outpatient counseling, GA meetings.
Sentence: Count 1 - Dismissed. Count 2 - 6 months MCSO jail w/3 years supervised probation. Special Sentencing Conditions: No gambling, 400 hrs community restitution. Jail term deferred six months pending Defendant Checklist compliance.
Outcome: Defendant fulfilled Special Conditions and judge vacated jail sentence.
Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc
Copyright © 2021 Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc - All Rights Reserved.