Fortune-telling for pay is a misdemeanor in New York State if "he claims or pretends to tell fortunes, or holds himself out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions or give advice on personal matters or to exorcise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses; except that this section does not apply to a person who engages in the aforedescribed conduct as part of a show or exhibition solely for the purpose of entertainment or amusement." (Penal Law, section 165.35.)
Put aside cases in which the First Amendment religious defense (which doesn't apply to "claims or pretends to tell fortunes") or the entertainment/amusement exemption would be controlling.
Is a contracted business consultant, a salaried academic futurist, a serious (not for entertainment or amusement) war game player who's in the military and thus paid, a buddy for whom you bought a few drinks who predicts the outcome of a game on TV, an investment advisor on commission so you'll make a fortune, an insurance company accepting premiums, a NASA staff astronomer who predicts that the sun will rise tomorrow, a staff TV weather forecaster who predicts that it won't because a morning thunderstorm will block the view, a Roma (formerly called a Gypsy) who assures you that you'll find love soon, a salaried corporate executive who assesses upcoming sales or expenses, or a secretary on wages who predicts that the mailed letter will be delivered in two days subject to imprisonment for up to 3 months?
If I predict either nonenforcement or that the state would have to build a fleet of prisons, would I have to do hard labor just for that prediction?
Accenture is a consulting firm with nearly half a million employees worldwide, a NY office, and a market capitalization (stock price per share times number of shares outstanding) of over $100 billion. I think they predict the future for a lot of clients. For most of those clients, a client's executive who liaises with Accenture probably turns to other execs and predicts their company's future ("growth!"). There's gotta be at least a thousand execs ready for the pokey today.
I don't have the enactment date or any judicial interpretations handy, but I guess this was meant to regulate the Roma. They're around and, judging from storefronts, they do a good bit of business, but I don't think the type of economic crime they were known for decades ago is much of a problem anymore, since I don't see warnings about it.
Does the First Amendment speech/press defense wipe this out for everyone, not just the religious?