What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas as the old saying goes, however, when you’ve obtained a marker from a Las Vegas Casino, not so much. A marker is a form of debt that casinos offer patrons to allow the good times to continue to roll. However you should know before taking out a marker at a Nevada casino that failure to repay is not just a civil issue, but also a criminal one, and you most likely will be charged; and if you live out of state, you could be extradited to Nevada to face penalties for failure to pay on time. Nevada, in fact, is the only state that treats failure to pay casino markers as criminal offenses.
What is a Casino Marker?
Very simply, a casino marker is a no interest, short term debt that casinos offer guests for use when playing table games. Markers are not typically usable for sports books, or slot machines. The casino will have you fill out an application, which includes your personal information and bank account data. Casinos typically do not check current account balance before issuing a marker but may check average balance information to determine the amount they are willing to issue. Markers usually come due within 30 days of issuance.
What happens if you don’t settle a Marker?
In practical terms, the casino treats the marker as a check. If you have not settled the marker with the casino prior to its due date, the casino will send a draft for the amount due through your checking account. If money is not available when the marker is drafted against your checking account, the draft will come back to the casino marked Not Sufficient Funds (NSF). The casino will then send a certified letter to the patron’s address of record, demanding payment for the unpaid amount usually within 10 days of the mailing date of the letter.
If the 10 days expires with no resolution, the casino will then file a bad check complaint with the District Attorney’s Bad Check Unit. Once this occurs, you will no longer be able to settle the marker with the casino. The DA will add service charges to the debt and send a certified letter to the address of record demanding payment and usually giving another 10 days for resolution. These payments must be paid by certified funds, such as a Cashier’s Check, Money Order or Wire Transfer, payable to the District Attorney’s Office. If the matter is not resolved within that 10-day period, the District Attorney will issue an arrest warrant and send a summons to appear in court showing date and location of the court.
Once the summons is issued, you can be arrested at any time prior to the court date. If not arrested prior to the court date, you must show up in court and have an attorney present to represent you. If you live out of state, you will be subject to extradition which will forcibly arrest you in your home state and transport you to Nevada to face charges. Since this is a criminal charge, bankruptcy will not protect you from penalties.
What are the Penalties for default on a Casino Marker?
Penalties can be quite serious depending on the amount of the marker(s). You will face separate charges and punishments for each unpaid marker.
For makers less than $650 it is considered a misdemeanor with punishments of up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
For markers over $650 it is considered a Category D felony with punishments from 1-4 years State Prison, requirement to pay full restitution of the debt plus administrative fees, and up to a $5,000 fine.
The Defenders represents those charged with Marker crimes
Nevada takes failure to pay markers very seriously and treats those charged with such crimes with harsh punishments. You need a criminal lawyer to represent you in such cases. The Defenders will negotiate with the District Attorney to reduce the charges or have to case dismissed. If the case goes to court, the Defenders will build a strong case to protect you from the loss of liberties that will ensue if convicted of such a crime. If you’ve been charged with a marker crime in Nevada, call our office today to discuss your potential case at (702) 333-3333.