Casinos and hotels are profit-driven, so when they are unable to collect gambling markers or debts, they will move aggressively to recover their losses. If you find yourself in a situation where a casino marker goes unpaid, you will not only be pursued by the casinos themselves, you may also be dealing with civil and criminal penalties, as well. Understanding the basic tenets and laws regarding casino debts, and how the process works, is essential in reacting in the proper fashion when presented with the allegation while in Sin City.
Casino markers are a form of casino credit that these establishments use to increase revenue and bring in big spenders. Markers are simply a credit line for active gamblers who want to increase their risk – and reward – and bet larger amounts of money than they have at the time. They are commonly presented in a form that is similar to a cashier’s check. Although no interest is accrued while on credit, you must continue to gamble or you will lose the privilege of using the marker. When you are done gambling, any credit outstanding must be paid off. If you are unable to do so, the casino will immediately take action. Under Nevada Law, these casino markers are looked at in the same light as a bad check.
The process of collecting on these debts start in-house, but if the casino is unable to do so, law enforcement will be contacted and you could potentially be dealing with a criminal charge. As for the process involved in collection, the following steps will likely be taken:
• The casino will attempt collection by trying to cash the casino marker using the bank account on file. If this account has insufficient funds, the casino will try to get in contact with you. State law requires that casinos send a certified letter discussing your debt, along with a 10-day notice of action.
• If you do not respond within ten days, the casino will share your information with the Clark County District Attorney and file a formal complaint. Following this complaint, you will be unable to pay the debt directly to the casino. Rather, you must deal with the District Attorney at this point. This means that the DA will add their standard 10% fee to the amount owed along with other administrative costs.
• The DA will send another certified letter with a similar 10-day response period. You can pay the original debt, but with additional fees and processing costs due to the inconvenience.
• If you do not respond, the district attorney will put a warrant out for your arrest.
An arrest warrant, according to Nevada law, is tantamount to the state alleging that you intended to defraud the casino when you do not pay the debt back. The penalties regarding unpaid casino markers will vary depending on the amount. According to §205.134 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, the accused will be charged with a misdemeanor if the amount is less than $250. This could potentially lead to a 6-month jail sentence and a fine of no more than $1,000. For amounts $250 or more, the charge will be upgraded to a category D felony. If convicted, this charge could lead to a sentence of 1-4 years and a fine up to $5,000.