Locals and tourists alike enjoy all of the amenities Las Vegas has to offer. From world-class performances, to five-star dining experiences, to placing big bets on the casino floor, Las Vegas has something to offer everyone. Even though many come to the city that never sleeps to have an exciting vacation, sometimes individuals can find themselves in trouble if they acquire too much gaming debt. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you take out a casino marker, and find yourself in over your head.
What is a casino marker?
Casinos often offer incentives to patrons to make gambling easy and more convenient. A casino marker is a line of credit provided to patrons at zero percent interest. Once the necessary applications have been filled out, gamblers can easily access funds without having to carry cash around or stop at ATMs. In reality, no “currency” ever changes hands. The player is simply given access to a bank of casino chips in the dollar amount of the marker. These chips can only be used at the issuing casino and each chip won or lost is meticulously tracked by casino personnel.
The casino markers themselves are actually treated as checks. Specifically, a “marker” is viewed by Nevada law as a personal or business check from the player’s account, in the same way as if the player would have written a post-dated check and handed it over to the casino as a guarantee of future payment on money lent. Casinos expect payment on markers generally within 30 days. If the debt is not paid back within a timely manner, the casino will “deposit” the “check” into the player’s connected bank account. In the case of insufficient funds, the casino marker becomes a bad check, and under Nevada law, the player has just passed a bad check for the amount borrowed. Pretty tricky, huh?
How is the debt collected?
Casinos expect patrons to pay the debt themselves generally within 30 days. If a patron fails to pay their debt within the agreed upon time frame, casinos take it upon themselves to collect the debt by:
- Attempting to collect the debt by “cashing” the marker
- Notifying the debtor via mail if the account has insufficient funds
- Notifying the Clark County District Attorney if no response is received within 10 days
From that point on, the casino is no longer involved in the debt-collection. Instead, the District Attorney files a criminal complaint to have the matter resolved. From this point on, debtors will have to deal directly with the District Attorney’s office.
- The DA will send a letter requesting the funds, plus legal fees
- If there is no response within 10 days, a warrant will be issued
- The warrant is effective nationwide and even in force in other countries that recognize Interpol procedures
What punishments are there for unpaid debt?
The punishment for unpaid casino markers is severe, and can result in serious jail or prison time. Even if you live out of state, you could potentially be extradited to Nevada after spending time behind bars in your home state. If you have unpaid casino markers, you may be charged will a class D felony. Each unpaid marker may result in up to a $5000 fine and 4 years in prison.
How an attorney can help you fight an unpaid casino marker.
An attorney is indispensable in helping to settle or contest your debt with casinos. Immediately upon recognizing that repayment of a marker may be difficult, it is important to contact a lawyer who specializes in casino marker law. Your lawyer can obtain more time to repay the casinos as well as negotiate a reduced settlement on the marker amount. Hiring a casino marker lawyer early can stop the case from going to the District Attorney. Even if the case is already with the DA, a casino marker attorney can negotiate the cancellation of any warrants and obtain a release from custody without the need to repay the entire marker. With respect to challenging the marker, if you had no intent to defraud, or a marker is invalid, your lawyer could help you beat the debt altogether.