[Guest Post -I didn't write it]
Are Shawn Marion and NBA referee Tim Donaghy destined for adjoining prison cells?
With all the scrutiny facing athletes today, you’d figure they would consult with their lawyers before doing something that may be illegal. Especially when it involves gambling. But Shawn Marion must think he’s above the law.
Arizona state law clearly prohibits most forms of gambling.
Of course, there’s the lottery and Indian casinos, but little else besides social or amusement gambling is permitted. In fact, if a form of gambling is not specifically authorized by state law, it is illegal. But Marion’s name and mug are being plastered everywhere promoting a "Celebrity Party and Charity Poker Tournament."
See Arizona Republic article here. The problem is that just because you’re a celebrity or because you claim the money is going to charity, it doesn’t make it legal.
Nonprofit organizations (charities) can conduct RAFFLES with the following restrictions:
1) no member, director, employee, or agent be eligible to receive any direct or indirect monetary benefit from the raffle (in other words, none of the directors like Shawn or employees can line their pockets or receive "freebies" from the events proceeds; 2) the nonprofit must have been in existence for five years immediately before conducting the raffle (according to the website, "All In For A Cause" was formed in the summer of 2007...oops!); 3) only members of the charity can participate in the management, sale, or operation of the raffle (so no hiring of 3rd parties to run the raffle).
But it appears that Shawn’s group is not conducting a raffle, hasn’t been in existence for 5 years and we have no idea how or where the event is occurring (by the way, if they’re serving liquor, they’re required to obtain a special event liquor license). There’s also no indication of how much or who is receiving the proceeds from the event. But the website indicates that sponsors contributing over 200K can designate a portion of the net proceeds to a charity of their choice. Mmm, almost sounds as if someone other than members of the organization are making "management" decisions regarding where money should go or how it should be spent. I wonder what the IRS and feds think about this.
According to Arizona Revised Statues § 13-3303, a person is guilty of the class 5 felony of "promotion of gambling" if he knowingly conducts, organizes, manages, directs, supervises or finances gambling, or if he furnishes advice or assistance for any of those activities. It’s also a class 1 misdemeanor to benefit in any way from gambling.
So while Shawn is rumored to have spent his New year’s in Vegas, he needs to remember that what goes on up there stays there. But in Arizona it’s a whole different roll of the dice. And hasn’t Phoenix already been through enough when it comes to gambling and the NBA?
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