People not familiar with Nevada laws might be surprised to learn that unpaid casino markers, also known as gambling debt, is both a criminal and civil offense. The state can charge you for unpaid markers and casinos can sue you and threaten you with prison time. Casino markers are checks that a player can sign to a casino in Las Vegas. Typically, casinos give 30 days to pay back the casino markers and they will not cash the check. Usually, the casinos offer these markers to players to encourage gambling. The information below explains the unpaid markers law and can help you if you are charged for theft, fraud, and failure to pay the marker against a player. Learn in this article the unpaid markers law in Las Vegas, including the penalties, the defenses you can do, sealing your criminal records, and more.
Nevada Revised Statute Section 205.130: Definition of a Casino MarkerAs an incentive to patron gamblers, the casinos in Nevada give casino markers that have zero interest loans that are treated like checks. Usually, patrons are expected to redeem them within 30 days. The casino will notify a patron for the outstanding debt if the markers are not paid on time. If the payment is still not made after the notification, the state would prosecute and issue an arrest warrant.
How Can the Law Enforcers Arrest You for Unpaid Markers?The District Attorney and the casino are required to take the necessary steps to redeem the marker themselves before the state of Nevada charges you for the unpaid casino markers. Borrowers are notified for the outstanding debt, and is given a chance to settle the debt before criminally charged.
- Drawn on Bank Account
- Notice From the Casino’s for Bad Checks
- Complaint for Bad Checks
- Notice of District Attorney’s Bad Checks
- Arrest Warrant for Unpaid Markers
- Arrest warrant procedures for In-state residents
- Arrest warrant procedures for out-of-state residents
Penalties for Unpaid MarkersThere are cases when the judge orders very harsh prison sentences for defaulting casino markers. However, District Attorneys are often agreeable in negotiating favorable deals and at times, dismissing the charges – especially if it is your first offense.
- Possible maximum 6 months in jail
- $10,000 fines
Category D Felony:Unpaid markers cost more than $250.
- Mandatory 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison
- $5,000 optional fine
- Mandatory full restitution of the unpaid markers debt
- Mandatory payment for administrative fees. 5% of each marker of $10,000 or less, and an extra 10% for each marker of more than $10,000.
Plea Bargain for Unpaid MarkersProsecutors are willing to resolve most unpaid marker cases since this allegation are non-violent offenses and don’t justify being imprisoned. Being incarcerated would not allow the defendant to pay the restitution.
For 1st Time OffendersIf you have never been convicted of unpaid casino markers before and cooperated with the authorities, the prosecution may allow the set-up of monthly payment plans.
Alleged serial check-writers or FugitivesProsecutors may be less willing to dismiss your case outright even if you pay everything back if you purposely fled Las Vegas or have a present criminal record,. Oftentimes, the prosecutors will request probation for the time being and bar you from entering any casinos in Nevada.
Civil Confessions of JudgmentPleading guilty to a gross misdemeanor in Las Vegas in exchange of signing a civil confession of judgment is another option. You will admit that you owe the casino some money and in this way, the casino will pursue the case through civil court. The common ways to defend yourself against unpaid marker charges in Las Vegas is to contend that you had no intent to defraud, and to challenge the marker’s facial value.
No Intent to defraudLas Vegas court may not convict you of unpaid markers if you did not have the intent to defraud. However, the state law in Nevada presumes that you had intent to defraud if your bank had insufficient funds when the casino tried to redeem your allegedly unpaid markers. The following circumstances can help your argument that you did not intend to pass a bad check:
- The casino intoxicated you with alcohol and compromising your judgment;
- You fell ill after having taken out the unpaid markers;
- You had a long and harmonious history of reimbursing casino markers.
Challenging the casino marker’s facial valueCasinos sometimes issue markers that do not qualify as checks under the state law of Nevada. In this case, the District Attorney may not prosecute you for neglecting to settle them. The DA cannot prosecute the following types of markers:
- Casino markers that have been altered or looked forged;
- Casino markers that do not show the casino (payee), the amount of money, the date, or your signature;
- Casino markers where your identities or the casino cannot be determined;
- Casino markers that are predated, post-dated, or when an agreement was made to hold the check for later payment;
- If the casino did not suffer any monetary injury, or the casino markers are for pre-existing debt.