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Cockfighting Pit Owner Loses Conviction Appeal

(CN) - The 6th Circuit rejected a man's claim that his illegal gambling conviction should be overturned because he never profited from the betting that took place at his cockfighting pit in Tennessee.

A jury found Kenneth Frazier guilty of illegal gambling and cockfighting for his operation of the "440 pit" in Cocke County, Tenn.

Cockfights were held on Saturday nights on property owned by Frazier and his wife. The couple charged an entrance fee for spectators and rooster owners, and rented out a concession stand.

Frazier didn't dispute that he ran the cockfighting ring and knew that betting took place. Instead, he argued that because he never personally profited from the fights, the government failed to prove that he had participated in "illegal gambling."

The Cincinnati-based appeals court didn't buy it.

"[R]unning the cockfighting ring and charging fees for admissions and for concessions undoubtedly created economic benefits for Defendant," Judge Eric Clay wrote.

Thus, jurors reasonably concluded that "by knowingly allowing gambling to take place in the 440 pit, Defendant had more roosters competing and more spectators, and therefore more revenue, than he otherwise would have," Clay wrote.

The 6th Circuit upheld Frazier's conviction and two-year prison sentence.

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