It's summertime. From little league to horse racing to amateur boxing, there are plenty of opportunities to hang out and enjoy the summer weather while taking in a sporting event. Depending on one's allegiance to the players or the sport in general, it may be natural to hope one side wins over the other. Hoping is one thing. Acting to make sure one side has an advantage or disadvantage may be going too far, and could possibly lead to criminal charges.
Rhode Island state law specifically prohibits attempting to influence the outcome of a sporting event, under Rhode Island General Laws Section 11-7-9. In short, one cannot corrupt or attempt to corrupt a sports participant or official in regards to the outcome of a sporting event. We break it down below.
Sports Participants – Defined
A “sports participant” includes the following people:
- Umpires, or
It can also include anyone who is engaged in playing, staging, officiating, promoting, or arranging a sporting event.
Sports Officials – Defined
A “sports official” includes the following people:
- Racing officials, or
- Others engaged in or connected with running, officiating, or promoting any horse race or dog race run or to be run within the state of Rhode Island.
Sporting Event – Defined
The types of events that qualify as events wherein someone cannot attempt to manipulate the outcome are many. They include any of the following events played or held in the state of Rhode Island:
- Amateur athletic games,
- Professional athletic games,
- Contests, or even
- Jai alai matches.
Corruption – Defined
To corrupt or attempt to corrupt a sports participant or official includes, “offering or promising any gift or gratuity whatever, directly or indirectly.” These gifts or gratuities must be offered “with intent to improperly influence the conduct of the person." It may be up to a jury to decide if any offers or promises are intended to improperly influence the conduct of a sports participant or official.
Even if the sport's official or player does not accept a bribe, even attempting to bribe a sports official can result in criminal charges.
Intended Area of Influence
Corruption requires a specific intent. The intent of offering the gift or gratuity must be to improperly influence the conduct of the person in one of the following ways:
- Playing the game,
- Running the game,
- Carrying out the game, contest, jai alai match, or horse race, or
- Officiating the game or contest.
Consequences of Corruption of Sports Participants or Officials in Rhode Island
This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, as well as imprisonment for up to seven years in prison.
Facing Criminal Charges in Providence?
If you are facing criminal charges, contact the Law Offices of Kensley R. Barrett, Esq. With the criminal defense experience you need to represent your interests in court, Rhode Island attorney Kensley R. Barrett will fight for you each step of the way. Send us a message or call us at (401) 380-6724.