(a) General rule

It shall be unlawful to manufacture, recondition, repair, sell, transport, possess, or use any gambling device in the District of Columbia, in any possession of the United States, within Indian country as defined in section 1151 of title 18 or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States as defined in section 7 of title 18, including on a vessel documented under chapter 121 of title 46 or documented under the laws of a foreign country.

(b) Exception

(1) In general

Terms Used In 15 USC 1175

  • gambling device: means --

    (1) any so-called "slot machine" or any other machine or mechanical device an essential part of which is a drum or reel with insignia thereon, and (A) which when operated may deliver, as the result of the application of an element of chance, any money or property, or (B) by the operation of which a person may become entitled to receive, as the result of the application of an element of chance, any money or property. See 15 USC 1171

  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • possession of the United States: means any possession of the United States which is not named in paragraph 1 (b) of this section. See 15 USC 1171
  • State: includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. See 15 USC 1171
  • Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • vessel: includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water. See 1 USC 3

Except for a voyage or a segment of a voyage that begins and ends in the State of Hawaii, or as provided in paragraph (2), this section does not prohibit–

(A) the repair, transport, possession, or use of a gambling device on a vessel that is not within the boundaries of any State or possession of the United States;

(B) the transport or possession, on a voyage, of a gambling device on a vessel that is within the boundaries of any State or possession of the United States, if–

(i) use of the gambling device on a portion of that voyage is, by reason of subparagraph (A), not a violation of this section; and

(ii) the gambling device remains on board that vessel while the vessel is within the boundaries of that State or possession; or


(C) the repair, transport, possession, or use of a gambling device on a vessel on a voyage that begins in the State of Indiana and that does not leave the territorial jurisdiction of that State, including such a voyage on Lake Michigan.

(2) Application to certain voyages

(A) General rule

Paragraph (1)(A) does not apply to the repair or use of a gambling device on a vessel that is on a voyage or segment of a voyage described in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph if the State or possession of the United States in which the voyage or segment begins and ends has enacted a statute the terms of which prohibit that repair or use on that voyage or segment.

(B) Voyage and segment described

A voyage or segment of a voyage referred to in subparagraph (A) is a voyage or segment, respectively–

(i) that begins and ends in the same State or possession of the United States, and

(ii) during which the vessel does not make an intervening stop within the boundaries of another State or possession of the United States or a foreign country.

(C) Exclusion of certain voyages and segments

Except for a voyage or segment of a voyage that occurs within the boundaries of the State of Hawaii, a voyage or segment of a voyage is not described in subparagraph (B) if it includes or consists of a segment–

(i) that begins and ends in the same State;

(ii) that is part of a voyage to another State or to a foreign country; and

(iii) in which the vessel reaches the other State or foreign country within 3 days after leaving the State in which it begins.

(c) Exception for Alaska

(1) With respect to a vessel operating in Alaska, this section does not prohibit, nor may the State of Alaska make it a violation of law for there to occur, the repair, transport, possession, or use of any gambling device on board a vessel which provides sleeping accommodations for all of its passengers and that is on a voyage or segment of a voyage described in paragraph (2), except that such State may, within its boundaries–

(A) prohibit the use of a gambling device on a vessel while it is docked or anchored or while it is operating within 3 nautical miles of a port at which it is scheduled to call; and

(B) require the gambling devices to remain on board the vessel.


(2) A voyage referred to in paragraph (1) is a voyage that–

(A) includes a stop in Canada or in a State other than the State of Alaska;

(B) includes stops in at least 2 different ports situated in the State of Alaska; and

(C) is of at least 60 hours duration.