Should I Pay My Casino Marker?

Q. Hello. I’ve been here in Las Vegas over this past Labor Day weekend and getting ready to leave. Me and my friends have been gambling and drinking the whole time. By Sunday I had run out of money and wanted to keep playing.  So I got a casino marker for $30,000 credit. I was really drunk at the time and was up for two days. Long story short, I ended up losing all that too. I feel real stupid about it and plan on paying it back, but I want to know what will happen if I don’t. Does the fact that I was really drunk make a difference? One of my friends said they can’t arrest me for owing money but can sue me. Is that right? I appreciate any advice.

A. You know that slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?”  Well, sometimes what happens here follows you home.  Your story of “Las Vegas Casino Markers”, unfortunately, is all too common in this town. I’m sorry for the trouble you have found yourself in, but you really only have one good option:  pay the marker.  I’ll explain.

In short, if you don’t pay the marker, you can and will be charged with a felony. A felony is a crime that carries a minimum of one year in prison.  Las Vegas casinos drive our economy and as such, they wield tremendous power. Your friend is absolutely wrong, in that you can and will be arrested if you do not pay the marker. Regardless of where you live, you can be arrested anywhere and at anytime if a warrant of arrest issues as a result of your non-payment. Once you are arrested, you will be extradited back to Las Vegas, that is, you will be transported in handcuffs back to Las Vegas, where you will be held at the luxurious and charming Clark County Detention Center, until your court date. Then, to add insult to injury, you will be made to pay for the cost of extradition.

Regarding the fact that you were “really drunk” when you applied for and signed the casino marker, an argument could be made that you did not have the sufficient mental ability to enter such a contract, however, this is a very difficult argument to succeed.  This is an issue that I am very familiar with, as it has been brought up a few times by clients of mine who have been in your position.  I would need more information from you before I could properly assess this issue, and there may also be other issues that could effect your situation.  Please call or send another email to discuss this further.

The good news?  In most of these types casino marker cases, I have been able to negotiate for a dismissal or a reduction to a simple misdemeanor.  Such a resolution will of course depend on the issues present and the individual situation, but oftentimes timely payment of the marker will go a long way to reaching a favorable outcome.  Which brings us back to my original point:  pay the marker. I understand, $30,000, is not a small amount, but this marker will cost you much more if you don’t pay it.  If you are charged with a felony and extradited back to Las Vegas, I can  guarantee you won’t enjoy your stay as much the second time around.