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Failing to pay back casino markers is a crime in Nevada under NRS 205.130. And it is very difficult for defendants to win casino marker cases because courts automatically presume they had an “intent to defraud.”
Casino markers are lines of credit that casinos extend to patrons to gamble with. In Nevada, patrons usually have 30 days to pay back the markers. If the deadline passes, the casino will try to redeem the marker through the patron’s bank account on file.
If the patron’s bank account has insufficient funds, the casino will send a certified letter to the patron giving him/her 10 days to pay. If the deadline passes, the casino files a bad check complaint with the district attorney.
Here are five things to know about casino markers in Nevada:
1) Most casino marker crimes are felonies in Nevada
Nevada law makes it a category D felony to not pay back a casino marker of $1,200 or higher. Penalties include:
If the marker is for less than $1,200, not paying is a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Note that defendants face a separate criminal charge for each unpaid marker.
In general, the district attorney will dismiss casino marker charges if the defendant repays the outstanding balance. In some cases, the D.A. will let defendants pay off the whole debt through a monthly payment plan. But it is very rare for the D.A. to reduce the amount owed as part of a plea bargain.
2) Casinos can also sue defendants for unpaid markers
In most cases, Nevada casinos do not bring lawsuits against people who failed to pay back markers. They will usually allow the county prosecutor to act as their debt collector.
But one exception is Sands (which includes Las Vegas’s Venetian). They bring such claims as breach of contract and unjust enrichment. But if the defendant pays restitution in the criminal case, they will usually withdraw the civil case.
3) Casino marker debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy while a Nevada criminal case is open
In Nevada, a casino marker debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy proceedings unless:
The criminal charges are dismissed; or
The district attorney never prosecutes the case21
In short, filing for bankruptcy will not make a Nevada casino marker criminal case go away. For non-Nevada casino markers, the debt may be dischargeable in bankruptcy if the trustee approves.
4) Out-of-state defendants can be extradited to Nevada
When out-of-state residents get charged in Nevada for unpaid casino markers, they usually have to appear in person at the felony arraignment whether or not they hire a local attorney. When defendants fail to appear at their required court date, the court will issue a bench warrant. If the charge is a felony (as most casino marker cases are), it is likely that Nevada police will try to extradite the defendant from his/her home state.
5) The criminal record can be sealed
People convicted of unpaid casino markers in Nevada can petition the court for a record seal after a waiting period. If the charge was for a felony, the wait is five years after the case closes. If the charge was for a misdemeanor, the wait is one year after the case closes. And if the charge gets dismissed, there is no wait to petition for a record seal.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
Yes. Just last month the Nevada Supreme Court took up this issue again and upheld the constitutionality of NRS 205.130. If someone takes out a casino marker and fails to make good on it within the specified time, the court presumes the person had “intent to defraud.” It is very difficult to win casino marker ...
Defendants charged with unpaid casino markers (NRS 205.130) in Nevada might be able to do a payment plan to avoid incarceration. And once the entire amount is paid in full, the D.A. may agree to dismiss the casino marker charges completely. But prosecutors are not obligated to offer payment plans, and they treat each matter ...
Last month the Nevada Supreme Court once again affirmed the constitutionality of the state’s casino marker laws. Specifically, it upheld the conviction of defendant Harel Zahavi, who allegedly failed to pay back nearly $400,000 in casino markers to four different Las Vegas casinos. He had been placed on probation with a suspended prison sentence of ...
It depends. Occasionally Nevada casinos will agree to a payment plan for patrons to pay back outstanding casino markers without filing a criminal complaint. But in most casino marker cases under Nevada law, casinos demand all the money back in full. And if the patrons cannot pay back the gambling debt, then the casinos will ...