Unpaid Casino Markers in Las Vegas, Nevada (NRS 205.130)
Nevada law takes unpaid casino markers and debts very seriously and gives licensed casinos lots of legal options to pursue the debt criminally and civilly.
If you have not paid a casino debt, you should retain a Las Vegas criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Once the casino involves law enforcement in collecting the debt, any further settlement attempts must be made through the District Attorney’s office. A skilled Nevada criminal attorney can negotiate a payment plan and help you avoid jail time and a conviction for unpaid gambling markers.
What is a casino marker?
In short, a marker is a gambling debt. Casinos will issue “credit” to a person who wishes to gamble in that hotel, as long as the gambler writes the casino a “marker” (similar to a check) for the amount borrowed. This makes gambling more convenient, especially if you would otherwise carry large amounts of cash while traveling to the hotel.
The casino will not cash the check if the debt is repaid within 30 days.
If the marker is not paid, the casino can take legal action just as if the check had “bounced.” It is important to understand that a marker is not a loan.
How is an unpaid casino marker collected?
Casinos will try to cash the check first. If the check is returned for insufficient funds, the casino will give you notice and a minimum time to make good on your marker (less than two weeks).
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If that fails, Las Vegas casinos will involve the District Attorney’s office. A warrant can be issued for your arrest, and you may not learn of this right away. In fact, you may not know this until routine traffic stop results in an arrest, for example.
What is the penalty for failing to pay a casino marker in Las Vegas?
Nevada law considers the failure to repay a gambling market a willful act, done with the intent to defraud the casino.
The assumption that you intended to defraud the casino is made even if you really believed you could repay the debt when you took the marker out.
The first offense is a misdemeanor unless the marker is for more than $650.
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An unpaid marker over $650 is a Category D felony.
A Category D felony in Nevada carries 1 to 4 years in a Nevada prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
All criminal cases involving unpaid casino markers in Nevada also require restitution to the casino for the amount borrowed. The District Attorney will also charge up to 10 percent additional as collection fees.
Increased sentences for repeated offenses
If a person is convicted of three misdemeanor offenses for unpaid gambling debts- even if those convictions were in other states- he or she can be convicted of a Category D felony.
Reduced sentences for unpaid casino markers may be possible
A good Las Vegas criminal lawyer may be able to establish a payment plan that allows for dismissal of the charges entirely, without jail time or fines. Talk to an attorney as soon as possible if you know you cannot pay you Las Vegas gambling debts within 30 days.
Many legal challenges have been made by people with unpaid gambling debts in Nevada because the law makes you guilty until proven innocent, which is not how the criminal justice system is supposed to operate. The Nevada courts have sided with the casinos by allowing the presumption of intent to defraud; this is one more reason to hire a lawyer as soon as you can to defend your case.
If you have been arrested for unpaid gambling markers in Las Vegas, Nevada, contact LV Criminal Defense today to begin your defense.