Internet Gaming not Always a Safe Bet!

Advice is as good as the money you pay for it. Because you will pay if it is not legally true and current information! This is a lesson that David Long, age 65, has learned the price of. He is currently on “a leave of absence as chairman of the Pittsylvania County Industrial Development Authority.” He was one of two persons arrested in December of 2010. Subsequently he was charged with one count of running an Illegal gambling operation from 9/13/2010 to 12/10/2010.

Doug Talbot, writing for the Star News Source, says this matter was “scheduled for trial in Pittsylvania County Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon [April 18], but motions to dismiss the case on behalf of both men are going to be considered by the judge.”

It is Mr. Long’s contention that he was never aware or told that what he was doing was illegal. He depended on the advice of his partner in this Internet sweepstake’s business, who assured him this was not a gaming system and therefore legal in Virginia. Mr. Long also claims that he reached out to government officials, even Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor and Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Grimes, on the legal status of such a business.

Additionally, Long is asking that his case be dismissed because it has not been over two years, that is, not a “speedy trial.” He no longer has available to him crucial witnesses, documents and equipment with which to defend himself from this charge.

But, like Kenny Rogers sang “You have to know when to hold’em, and when to fold’em.” In this case, he “accepted a plea deal [that]Thursday . . . plead[ing] guilty . . . to a lesser charge related to gambling . . . He will be responsible for paying a $2,500 fine and court costs.”

But, as noted in his motion to dismiss, if Mr. Grime’s advice to speak to an attorney with pertinent knowledge of the current state of Virginia’s gaming/gambling laws and particularly as they relate to Internet venues, all this would have been avoided. The laws and regulations concerning these matters are not settled. What is not illegal by statute may still not be legal. Or how the prosecution may interpret and implement the law may differ in your jurisdiction.

Due diligence and a lawyer’s solicited and signed opinion of the law as it stands has great value.

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