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Las Vegas Casino Markers and the “Waiver” Defense


It amazes me what these casinos in Las Vegas think they can get away with when it comes to casino markers. Here’s the way the casino marker racket works. Let’s say you’re a customer or a patron of a casino. While at the casino, you ask for a line of credit. The first thing the casino does is have you fill out a credit application. On this application, you are asked to list your bank account numbers. The casino then runs a credit check to see how much you owe to other casinos, your history of repayment of markers at other casinos and their casino, and how much is in your bank account where you do your banking.

The usual case is this: the casino decides that on a monthly average that you have, let’s say hypothetically, $40,000 in your bank account. The casino than will offer you credit in the form of casino markers WAY over the $40,000 you have in your checking account knowing that you’ve never had that amount ever in your account. It’s not uncommon in this hypothetical where the casino will offer $120,000 which is three times how much you have ever had in your checking account.

The player, in our hypothetical, is given casino markers which are like checks. The casino marker looks like a check. Once you sign a marker, the casino will print your routing and checking account numbers at the bottom of the casino marker. After you’ve presumably gambled and lost the $120,000, the casino will wait usually about 30 days and then deposit your markers with their bank, and then the markers are presented to your bank for payment. If you don’t have enough in your account to cover the markers, they will bounce and the casino will be notified. From there, the casino will send you a certified letter telling you that you have 30 days to pay them or they will turn your markers over to the Bad Check Unit at the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. If you don’t pay them within 30 days, they will send your markers over to the Bad Check Unit for prosecution. From there, the Bad Check Unit will send you a demand letter and tell you that you have 10 days to pay the $120,000 plus the Bad Check Unit’s 10% fee for a total of $120,000 + $12,000 = $132,000. If you don’t pay the Bad Check Unit, they will formally charge you with a criminal complaint for Drawing and Passing a Check Without Sufficient Funds in Drawee Bank With Intent to Defraud, Presumptions of Intent to Defraud in violation of NRS 204.130 and NRS 205.132.

Here’s how the “waiver” argument comes into our defense. Let me demonstrate with this hypothetical. Let’s say you go to the dry cleaner. Your bill is $50. Let’s say that you write the dry cleaner a check for $50 and you tell the dry cleaner, “Can you please hold this check for a week and then deposit it? I don’t have enough in my account right now to cover this $50 check.” If the dry cleaner accepts your check knowing that you don’t have enough in your account, he has “waived” the right to complain that you didn’t have enough in your account when you presented the check. In this case, your check is more like a loan, and when the dry cleaner goes to deposit the check and it bounces. This is not a case that the Bad Check Unit will prosecute because the dry cleaner in essence gave you a loan. More importantly, the dry cleaner waived or gave up any right to complain that you didn’t have the money in your account when you wrote the check. (If you had the money in your account when you wrote the check and then it later bounced, that fact rebuts the presumption of the intent to defraud.)

The ironic thing is that the Bad Check Unit makes a huge exception for the casinos. If you or I make a loan to someone, and that person writes a check that bounces, we are out of luck and can’t proceed at the Bad Check Unit. They won’t take the case. But if the casino makes a loan or extension of credit, then that’s totally fine? It’s ridiculous.

So back to my “waiver” argument. The casino, in your case, knew that you didn’t have the money in your account when they gave you the $120,000 line of credit. They were also well aware you’ve never had that kind of money in your account, which makes it very likely you would not have that amount in your account when they deposited the markers with you bank. So my argument is that they have waived, or given up the right to complain that they were defrauded because you, in essence, told them when they ran a credit check on you, that you didn’t have the money in your account and have never had that kind of money in your account.

Every casino marker that is prosecuted by the Bad Check Unit is dismissed when an amount is negotiated and paid or when the patron pays off the entire amount on a payment plan. But for those who can’t afford these options, the doctrine of “waiver” may possibly be of assistance in the form of a Motion to Dismiss for Abuse of Process or Unclean Hands. This means that the casinos have “unclean hands” by waiving the issue of you not having had the money and then later choosing to collect on it through the Bad Check Unit. The doctrine of waiver may also be a good defense in front of a jury if your lawyer can convince the judge to instruct the jury that they may consider the doctrine of waiver in your defense.

If you have a casino marker that is in warranty or even if it hasn’t been presented to the Bad Check Unit, be sure and call me, (a casino marker defense attorney with 17 years of experience) so we can discuss your options.

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