Most major casinos in Las Vegas will issue checks known as “markers” as a courtesy for players who wish to gamble, but who do not want to carry large amounts of cash with them into the casinos. Typically, the marker indicates that it must be paid within a certain period of time, such as 30 days. If a player does not pay the amount owed within the set period of time, the casino’s collection or credit department will contact the player in an attempt to collect the amount owed. If those attempts are unsuccessful, the casino will then attempt to deposit the marker. If the player’s bank account has insufficient funds to cover the marker, it will be returned to the casino. Generally, the casino will then send a demand letter to the player, insisting on payment within five days of the receipt of the letter and warning the player that, if payment is not made, the matter will be turned over the District Attorney’s office for prosecution.
If the amount of the marker is $650 or more, the District Attorney’s office will charge the player with a felony offense that carries a penalty of up to four year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Given the severity of the penalty for non-payment of a casino marker, it is critical to have a defense team with experience litigating and negotiating marker cases. Defenses available may include facts indicating that the player was too intoxicated at the time he accepted signed for the marker to have the specific intent to defraud the casino. Similarly, the defense can assert that the player had no criminal intent to defraud the casino in light of the fact that he presented identification, signed for the marker on camera, and made no apparent attempts to conceal his identity. For players seeking to resolve their case by negotiation to avoid a felony conviction, having attorneys capable of litigating a case on their side can often leverage the best possible settlement outcome.