The consequences of the Nevada crime of not paying back a casino marker include both criminal charges and civil lawsuits. Since Nevada law presumes casino marker defendants have an "intent to defraud", it is challenging for defendants to win these cases unless they can repay the full amount they owe.
Here are ten things that happen if you do not pay back your casino marker in Las Vegas:
- Once the time limit has expired for a borrower to make good on a casino marker (which is usually 30 days), the casino will try to withdraw the money from the borrower's bank account. If the account has sufficient funds, there should be no further action.
- If the borrower's bank account does not have enough to cover the marker ("NSF"), the casino will mail the borrower a certified letter giving him/her ten more days (since the date of mailing) to pay off the marker. (Example of a 10-day notice letter for unpaid casino markers.)
- If the ten days go by with no repayment, then the casino will submit a complaint with the Clark County Bad Check Unit. (Example of a bad check complaint form.) Once the Bad Check unit has been notified, the borrower cannot simply just pay back the casino directly. Any repayment must be made to the D.A. Furthermore, the borrower is now on the hook for not just for the marker amounts but also collection fees.
- The D.A. will begin the prosecution process by mailing the defendant another certified letter giving him/her an additional ten days from the date of mailing to pay off the marker plus the collection fees. The money can be paid by money order, cashier's check, or wire transfer and made payable to the Clark County D.A.'s office.
- If the ten days go by with no repayment, a judge will issue an arrest warrant in Nevada. In most cases, the D.A. will send a summons to the defendant in the mail with instructions to appear in court for the arraignment.
- If the defendant fails to appear in court, the police may try to find him/her and conduct an arrest. Otherwise, the defendant will have an active warrant and may be arrested at any time (such as during a traffic stop). If the defendant does appear in court, the judge will set bail, which is usually the amount of the money owed to the casinos. The defendant may be remanded into custody if he/she cannot post bail.
- Defendants face category D felony charges for markers of $650 or more. Otherwise, an unpaid casino marker is only a misdemeanor. Each unpaid marker is a separate charge. So if a person has two unpaid markers for $1,000 each, he/she will be charged with two category D felonies.
- After the arraignment, the defendant's attorney and bad check prosecutor will enter a period of negotiation. The prosecutor will usually agree to dismiss the charges once all the money has been repaid. In many cases, the prosecutor will agree to a payment plan that may span two or three years. In rare cases, the prosecutor will agree to accept a lesser amount than is due: This typically happens when the defendant is ill and insolvent.
- If the defendant does not repay the money and there is no negotiation, the case will go to trial. Penalties for each felony conviction include full restitution, a possible $5,000 fine, administrative fees, and one to four years in Nevada State Prison.
- Separate and apart from the criminal case, the casino can file a civil lawsuit against the defendant for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.