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Taking A Gamble On Gambling

File Photo. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

File Photo. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Can you get busted for the poker game in your basement?

A Brooklyn man pleaded guilty to his role in a million dollar poker ring. He’ll serve six to twelve months in jail and has to forfeit $250,000 in cash. And you thought you were ‘all that’ for playing poker in your buddy’s basement while smoking some stogies.

It makes many guys wonder: wait, does this mean there’s a seat available at his table? Or: could I get busted if the cops find out I have a game in my man cave?

The laws of illegal gambling vary by state, but in general it is illegal to bet money on games of chance.

In most states low stakes social gambling, where no one takes a cut of the money and everyone is a player on equal footing with the other players, does not generally face prosecution. But bookies or other game organizers who get a vig are subject to prosecution. And the higher the stakes and the higher the profile of the game, the more likely it is that you’ll attract the attention of the authorities so know that, if you decide to participate, you live on the edge a little.

Decide if you’re willing to take that gamble.