Did you ever wonder how people at the casino are able to lose more than they initially brought? In most cases, the answer is casino markers.
What is a marker in gambling? In short, it’s a type of credit line extended by a casino to its players. While it’s not necessarily pure evil itself, it might be a bit problematic if you come unprepared and play irresponsibly. If you’re being reckless, you can easily find yourself in serious trouble – and we’re talking thousands of dollars in fines and prison time.
So, how does it work? How do you get these markers? How do you pay back casino markers? Below, you will find everything you need to know about marker gambling to stay safe and enjoy the game.
What Is a Casino Marker?
Casino markers can be described as no-interest, short-term lines of credits extended to the players by casinos. It sounds pretty easy and convenient, right?
Except it’s not.
This type of narrative is quite misleading; a casino marker has no line of credit, and can’t be paid off like, for example, a credit card. In reality, Nevada law treats them like checks. As such, you need to actually have money in your bank account to pay it off. Also, while defaulting on a regular loan is considered a civil offense in most American states, in Nevada, where casinos distribute markers to their players, defaulting on casino markers is a criminal fraud.
Usually, you have up to 30 days to pay the casino back.
How Do You Get Markers at a Casino?
Getting markers at any casino is pretty straightforward – similar to any short-term loan application, or even simpler. You need to complete a form, where a casino usually asks for your name, social security number, and bank account information. You also need to state the amount of money you want on your marker, which is then printed. You have to sign it and then redeem it in the form of chips to play with.
What Is a Marker Limit at a Casino?
In theory, there’s no limit.
However, how much you can borrow will depend on your history – marker and gambling history as well as credit record. If you had no trouble paying off your markers in the past, your limit will be high – and it will only get higher as you bet with more and more money. Logically, if you have a history of unpaid markers, your limit will be quite low, or you won’t be able to borrow any money at all.
Are There Really No Strings Attached to Marker Gambling?
Well, as long as you pay the casino back in the designated period of time, there’s no interest on the amount you’ve “borrowed”. It’s only when you can’t meet the deadline that things get a bit complicated.
Once the specified period of time has passed, the casino will try to get the money from your bank account using the information you provided on the application form. After that, you’ll likely get a letter and have 10 days to pay the money back.
Though it’s not a must for casinos, most of them would then offer you some sort of a casino marker payment plan. After all, they don’t want trouble – they just want their money back. They may demand interest or installment payments; however, if you don’t cooperate, most casinos won’t hesitate to press charges. And just like that, you’re charged with defaulting on casino markers.
Then, you’ll get notified by the special Bad Check Unit of the Clark County District Attorney’s Office; yes, it’s a dedicated unit that collects casino markers. This time, you’ll have to pay the borrowed amount + interest. If you still don’t pay (usually within 10 days), you get arrested and prosecuted as if you have written a bad check.
What Are the Penalties for Defaulting on Casino Markers?
If you have defaulted on casino markers, depending on the borrowed amount, you face up to 4 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines as well as some percent of the fine in administrative fees.
A misdemeanor is when the defaulted marker is worth up to $650. Anything above that amount is considered a category D felony.
The casino can also bring a civil lawsuit against you.
It’s best to contact an attorney as soon as you realize you’re in trouble.
There’s nothing wrong with borrowing money from a casino. In fact, if you play it smart and don’t put yourself at risk (meaning only play with the amount you can pay off), it can be quite convenient. Just remember that casino markers are not really lines of credit.
If you play with borrowed money, it’s your responsibility to pay the money back on time. If you don’t, you’ll have to deal with the consequences.