Everything You Wanted To Know About Casino Markers
Imagine you’re at a Las Vegas casino, and you run out of money. After filling out a casino marker application, you are offered up to $98,000 worth of markers. Even though your bank account doesn’t contain that much money, you don’t worry about it because you only plan on using a couple thousand dollars, and your luck has to turn at some point, right? Unfortunately, you start pressing, maybe drink too much, and extend your credit to its limit. After the dust settles, the casino comes calling, and you can’t cover your losses. Before you know it, the District Attorney’s Office has filed felony charges against you on behalf of the casino, and you are left facing a prison sentence.
This scenario may seem far-fetched, but it happens to about 20,000 people each year. In fact, an executive from California was recently found guilty in criminal court for over $300,000 worth of casino marker debt, and a Wisconsin man stood before a grand jury in 2010 for defaulting on casino markers totaling $3.75 million.
Gambling markers are big business here in Las Vegas. If you qualify for one, a casino will gladly grant you one at your peril. Here are some things you need to know about Las Vegas casino markers before you go down that road.
Casino Marker Explanation
Casino markers are generally defined as short-term, no-interest credit lines extended by casinos. In reality, however, this explanation is extremely misleading. Because gambling institutions treat these markers as credit when they give them out, many people assume that they are no different from credit card lines of credit.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The law describes Las Vegas casino markers as checks, and unpaid casino markers can be prosecuted under Nevada bad check laws.
The Process Of Obtaining A Casino Marker
Before receiving a casino marker, the patron must complete a credit application asking for information such as his name, social security number and complete bank account information. Once approved, the gambler can request a marker for a specific amount, which is then printed in the cage or the pit. The customer must sign the marker, after which he is free to redeem it in the form of chips or cash to use at the slot machines.
Gambling markers are interest-free, provided that the borrower repays them within the specified period of time. For Nevada casino debts, the timetable is usually around thirty days. After this, some clubs may offer a payment plan to patrons who request it, but they are not required to do so. If they do agree to take installment payments, they will charge interest. More often than not, they will simply press charges against those who default on the casino marker. Casinos can be intensely aggressive about pursuing these claims.
The Collection Process
After thirty days of nonpayment, the casino attempts to withdraw the funds from the bank account on the credit application. If the money isn’t available, the gaming hall is required to send a certified letter giving the customer ten days to pay. In the event that the marker still isn’t redeemed, the casino turns the case over to the District Attorney’s Office, who then sends another ten day notice with an additional 5 to 10 percent added in fees. After that, if the money is still outstanding the person can be arrested and prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law.
In Nevada, failing to pay a casino marker is an extremely serious offense. It carries the punishment of at least one year in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Moreover, prison incarceration does not wipe out the debt–that unlucky person will still owe the casino when released from prison, and may face wage garnishment.
At the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office, additional felonies, like Burglary, may be charged, depending on the particular circumstances.
Nevada law assumes an intent to defraud the casino, and cases are prosecuted in criminal court. Because it is considered a criminal matter, even bankruptcy will not free a person of the debt.
What To Do If You Have Defaulted On A Casino Marker
If you have outstanding Las Vegas casino markers that you can’t pay, it is vital that you contact an attorney as soon as the casino notifies you of the debt. The longer you delay, the greater the penalties you potentially face. If you wait too long, you can be arrested anywhere and extradited back to Nevada, which could mean a very long car or plane ride in handcuffs. A lawyer can stop this process, help you fight the charges, and stay out of prison, give us a call today at 702-463-5590.