Criminal Law

2996. Betting or Wagering

The defendant is charged [in Count ______] with (making[,]/ [or] offering[,]/ or accepting) a bet.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant (made[,]/ [or] offered[,]/ or accepted) a bet;


2. The defendant knew that (he/she) was (making[,]/ [or] offering[,]/ or accepting) a bet.

A bet is a wager or agreement between two or more people that if an uncertain future event happens, the loser will (pay money to the winner/ [or] give the winner something of value). [A bet includes a wager made on the outcome of any actual or purported event, including but not limited to any kind of sporting contest [or <insert description of event from Pen. Code, § 337a>.] [It is not necessary that the event that was bet on actually take place.]

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the crime.


Elements. Pen. Code, § 337a, subd. 6.

Knowledge Required. See People v. Coppla (1950) 100 Cal.App.2d 766, 768 [224 P.2d 828].

Bet Defined. People v. Oreck (1946) 74 Cal.App.2d 215, 220 [168 P.2d 186].

Event Need Not Occur. People v. Ghio (1927) 82 Cal.App. 28, 32-33 [255 P.205].

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000), Crimes Against Public Peace and Welfare, § 281.

Related Issues

Cash Not Required

A bet does not require that the defendant receive cash. (People v. Raze (1949) 91 Cal.App.2d 918, 922 [205 P.2d 1062].) It is sufficient if the defendant received something of value equivalent to money. (Ibid.)

(New January 2006)