State Laws on Ability to Recover Gambling Losses

The basic starting point for the research leading to the information in the table below is drawn from 162 American Law Reports 1224, which contains the annotation: Gambler’s right to recover money lost by him as including money belonging to others. The annotation is very much out of date, having been written over 50 years ago.  I have read all the statutes that are summarized in the table below and have attempted to discover any similar laws in other states

I would appreciate advice from any reader who may know of laws in other states that have the same effect as those summarized in the table, or of changes in the laws that are summarized.

The following table presents information about laws in those states that in which I have been able to find specific statutes authorizing the recovery of gambling losses.

The table contains the following columns:

State:   Shows the name of the particular state.
Statute Section:   Gives the applicable section of that state’s statutes.
Recover:  Indicates if a gambling loss is recoverable.  If the table has blank rows after the name of a state, then I have not been able to find a specific gambling loss recovery loss statute.
By 3d Party:   Indicates whether a third party may seek to recover a gambling loss if the actual loser does not do so.  In some cases only the state’s law enforcement authorities are authorized third parties.
Treble:   Indicates whether the statute allows for treble recovery in certain circumstances.
Statute of Limitation:   Sets forth my best guess as to the time frame within which a suit may be brought by the loser and/or a third party to recover gambling losses.

State Statute Reference Recover By 3d Party Treble Statute of Limitations
Alabama 8-1-150 Yes No No 12 months
Arkansas 16-118-103 Yes No No 90 days
Connecticut  52-553 & 52-554 Yes No No 3 months
District of Columbia 16-705 Yes Yes Yes 3 months + normal civil action?
Florida 849.12, 849.26 & 849.29 Yes No No Normal civil action?
Georgia 13-8-3(b) Yes Yes No 4 years
Illinois 5/28.8 Yes Yes Yes 6 months
Indiana 34-16-1 Yes Yes No 6 months
Kentucky 372.020 & 372.040 Yes Yes Yes 5 years.
Maryland 12-110 Yes No No Normal Statute of Limitations
Massachusetts Chapter 137, Sec. 1 Yes Yes Yes 3 months + normal civil action?
Michigan 730.315 (1)
[see also 600.2939 (1)
Yes No No 3 months  (1)
State Statute Reference Recover By 3d Party Treble Statute of Limitations
Minnesota 541.20 Yes No No Normal Statute of Limitations
Mississippi 87-1-5 Yes No No Normal Statute of Limitations
Missouri 434.030 et seq. Yes No No 3 months
Montana 23-4-131 Yes No No 1 year
New Hampshire 338:3 Yes No No Normal Statute of Limitations
New Jersey 2A:40-5 & -6 (2) Yes Yes No 1 year
New Mexico 44-5-1 Yes No No 1 Year
New York 5-419 & 5-421 Yes No No  3 months or longer
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio 3763.02 Yes Yes No 6 months + Normal Statute of Limitations?
Oregon 30.74 Yes No Double Normal Statute of Limitations
Rhode Island
South Carolina 32-1-10 Yes Yes Quadruple 3 months + normal Statute of Limitations?
South Dakota 21-6-1 Yes (3) No 6 months
Tennessee 28-3-106 Yes No, except for benefit of spouse or children No 90 days to 27 months
Vermont 11-51 & 3981 Yes No No 1 month or longer
Virginia 11-15 Yes No No 3 months
Washington 4.24.070  Yes No No Normal Statute of Limitations
West Virginia 55-9-2 Yes No No 3 months
Wisconsin 945-10 (4)  Yrs No  No Normal Statute of Limitations?
State Statute Reference Recover By 3d Party Treble Statute of Limitations
(1)  750.315 Losing at gambling.

Losing at gambling—Any person who shall lose any sum of money, or any goods, article or thing of value, by playing or betting on cards, dice or by any other device in the nature of such playing or betting, and shall pay or deliver the same or any part thereof to the winner, and shall not, within 3 months after such loss, without covin or collusion, prosecute with effect for such money or goods, the winner to whom such money or goods shall have been so paid or delivered, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding 3 times the value of such money or goods. Such loser may sue for and recover such money in an action for money had and received to the use of the plaintiff; and such goods, article or valuable thing in an action of replevin, or the value thereof in an action on the case.

Also,  600.2939 Gaming; action by loser; oath of parties; prosecution according to common law; forfeiture; limitation; securities; lands enuring of benefit.

(1) In any suit brought by the person losing any money or goods, against the person receiving the same, when it appears from the complaint that the money or goods came to the hands of the defendant by gaming, if the plaintiff makes oath before the court in which such suit is pending, that the money or goods were lost by gaming with the defendant as alleged in the complaint, judgment shall be rendered that the plaintiff recovered damages to the amount of the said money or goods, unless the defendant makes oath that he did not obtain the same, or any part thereof by gaming with the plaintiff; and if he so discharges himself, he shall recover of the plaintiff his costs; but the plaintiff may at his election, maintain and prosecute his action according to the usual course of proceedings in such actions at common law.

(2) Every person who wins or loses, at any time or sitting, by gaming or betting on the hands or sides of such as are gaming, any money or goods, to the value of $5.00 or more, whether the same is paid over or delivered, or not, shall forfeit and pay 3 times the value of such money or goods if the action therefor is commenced within 6 months after the committing of the offense.

(3) All notes, bills, bonds, mortgages, or other securities or conveyances whatever, in which the whole or any part of the consideration, shall be for any money or goods won by playing at cards, dice, or any other game whatever, or by betting on the sides or hands of such as are gaming, or by any betting or gaming whatever, or for reimbursing or repaying any moneys knowingly lent or advanced for any gaming or betting, shall be void and of no effect, as between the parties to the same, and as to all persons, except such as shall hold or claim under them in good faith, and without notice of the illegality of such contract or conveyance.

(4) Whenever any mortgage or other conveyance of land is adjudged void under (3), such lands shall enure to the sole benefit of such person or persons as would be entitled thereto, if the mortgagor or grantor were naturally dead; and all grants and conveyances for preventing such lands from coming to or devolving upon the person or persons to whose use, and benefit the said lands would so enure, is fraudulent and of no effect, except as against purchasers in good faith, and without notice of the illegality of such mortgage or other conveyance.

(2)  New Jersey Senate Bill 1013 seeks to clarify definition of illegal gambling to address Internet gambling; void credit card debt incurred through illegal gambling; authorize only the State to recover illegal gambling losses and to outlaw online gambling.  Also introduced in previous legislative session as S2376.  As of July 4, 2005, S1013 has not been reported out of the New Jersey Senate Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.

(3)  21-6-2.   Action by state’s attorney for benefit of spouse, minor children or public schools.
In case the losing party fails to bring an action under § 21-6-1 within the time allowed by said section, it shall be the duty of the state’s attorney, at any time within six years from the date of the loss, to bring action to recover such thing, or the value thereof, for the benefit of the spouse or minor children of such party, or, in case there be no spouse or minor children, for the benefit of the public schools.

(4)  945-10.  Anything of value received by any person as a prize in any lottery conducted in violation of this chapter shall be forfeited to the state and may be recovered in any proper action brought by the attorney general or any district attorney in the name and on behalf of the state.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top