Most Asked Questions About Casino Markers

Casinos make obtaining a marker so easy. But when you run into problems with casino marker debt, you can definitely look back and wish you had understood better what you were getting yourself into. The truth is, most gamblers do not get a casino marker with the intent to defraud. Unfortunately, when you cannot pay up on your casino marker debt, you can face serious criminal charges.

Long-time Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joel M. Mann often represents people who find themselves in this stressful situation. Our law firm can review your case for free and go over all your options for resolving it. Contact us today, or keep reading for answers to some commonly asked questions.

What happens when you owe a casino money?

Whether you have run out of cash on hand or chose not to carry cash in the first place, a casino marker can seem like a practical way to gamble. However, when you fail to pay back a marker within the specified amount of time (often 30 days), the casino will come after you.

Often, the casino will make an attempt to collect the debt before getting law enforcement involved. They will send you a letter, requesting that you pay the debt before the casino submits it to the bank.

If you do not respond by repaying the debt, the casino will then attempt to collect the money directly from the bank account that you put on your application for credit. If your account does not contain enough money to pay the debt, the casino will attempt to reach you again by certified letter. If this fails or if you have not resolved the matter at this point, the casino will escalate its tactics and file a complaint with the Clark County District Attorney.

You will then receive a certified letter from the District Attorney giving you 10 days to respond and pay. You will also be required to pay fees and court costs related to the complaint. If you do not respond to this letter, the District Attorney will pursue a criminal complaint against you, and a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Depending on the circumstances, you may be charged with passing a bad check, making false statements to obtain benefits, forgery, identity theft, misrepresentation of assets, or obtaining money by false pretenses.

You should never ignore a letter about casino marker debt. Contact an attorney as soon as you receive that initial notice from the casino. You attorney can help you resolve the issue and develop a plan to avoid stiff criminal punishments.

What is a casino credit line? 

You may have heard that casinos offer credit lines that people can use for gambling. The term “credit line” can be a little misleading, as you may assume the money can be used or paid off like a credit card. However, Nevada law (NRS 205.130) considers casino markers a “negotiable instrument,” like a check. It’s as if you are writing a check to the casino, but the casino agrees not to cash it for a certain amount of time.

If you do not pay back the marker within the time period you agreed to (usually within 30 days), you may be prosecuted as if you wrote a bad check.

How do you get a marker at the casino?

In order to get a casino marker, you will need to fill out a credit application to provide your name, Social Security number, and bank account information. You may request a certain amount, although you should know that the casino does not typically verify that you have that money in your bank account. You may be offered a marker that is worth much more than you can pay back.

Your marker will be printed out, and you will sign it. Once you receive the marker, you can redeem it for chips or cash that can be used for gambling on the premises.

Do casinos loan money?

This is a common misconception, as some people think of casino markers as a short-term, interest-free loan. Under Nevada law, casino markers are not considered a loan. Rather, they are like a check that you have written to the casino. If you do not have the money in the bank to cover a marker when it comes due, you can face serious criminal charges.

What is a casino shill?

A shill is a person employed by a casino to draw gamblers to a table or maintain a sufficient number of players for a card game. A shill looks like any other gambler, but they are playing with casino money, so they are not responsible for losses and they do not get to keep winnings. A shill is different from a proposition player, who is also paid by a casino to play but instead uses his own money and is responsible for his own wins and losses.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board regulates the use of casino shills in card games. Shills are not allowed to check and raise. A total of four shills and proposition players can play in the same game. Shills are not allowed to play with others in a way that puts other players in the game at a disadvantage.

Casinos that employ shills or proposition players must identify them if you request it.

Can you write off gambling debts?

Yes, you can write off losses on your taxes if you itemize your deductions. However, you also must report winnings as taxable income. In addition, you cannot write off more in losses than the amount you report as winnings. So, for example, if you have losses of $15,000 and winnings of $10,000, you can only write off $10,000 in losses. You cannot deduct losses without reporting winnings.


Need Legal Advice About Casino Marker Debt?

If you have received a letter from a casino or the district attorney about your casino marker debt, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann. This is not a situation that will just go away, even if you are a visitor from another state.

Call us today or contact us online to set up a free and confidential consultation.