We wanted to hold a tournament for a tailgating game. We want to have the participants to pay an entry fee and use that money to pay out the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers. When I called the county sheriff’s office they stated that’s gambling. Please see the state law below. So since the players are the ones getting the payout is gambling or not?
§ 16-12-20. Definitions
As used in this part, the term:
(1) "Bet" means an agreement that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value. A bet does not include:
(A) Contracts of indemnity or guaranty or life, health, property, or accident insurance; or
(B) An offer of a prize, award, or compensation to the actual contestants in any bona fide contest for the determination of skill, speed, strength, or endurance or to the owners of animals, vehicles, watercraft, or aircraft entered in such contest.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Yes it's gambling and if you do it, you and the players can expect to get arrested and have criminal records.
You posted this as an Adminsitrative law question which means criminal lawyers on LawGuru never saw this. It has nothing to do with appeals of agency decisions, and administrative hearings. So most of the lawyers you wanted to reach missed this question.
You posted the definition that obviously states that the type of game is important, but you chose to tell us nothing at all about the game. Presumably, you told the Sheriff's office. They stated their opinion. You can listen to them, or take your chances.