Most Common Criminal Offenses at Casinos
Las Vegas casino resorts operate on a grand scale, attracting tourists from around the world to gigantic properties where lots can happen and go wrong. Casino visitors are a microcosm of society, so the most common crimes can involve a wide range of activities that may attract the attention of law enforcement. Some are specific to the business of casinos, and some are more general, as follows:
- Fraud: Casino visitors sometimes look for ways to turn the odds in their favor, such as using counterfeit chips, deploying technology to get a leg up on the house, or claiming winnings they don’t own. Las Vegas casinos have probably seen it all and are vigilant toward signs of cheating.
- Default on casino markers: Casinos take the risk of handing out credits to people they believe they can trust. If someone fails to pay on the casino marker when due, it can be considered a felony, and you’ll need advice from the criminal defense attorneys at De Castroverde Law.
- Passing bad checks: Casino players sometimes find themselves without the means to continue their evenings and resort to writing checks with no funds in the relevant accounts to pay those checks. Check kiting remains one of the most common casino criminal offenses.
- Disorderly conduct: The presence of alcohol can cause some players to become out of control and can result in angry disputes. Police must calm these situations, which frequently result in charges of disorderly conduct.
- General criminal offenses: Unfortunately, casinos can be the site of physical crimes, such as robbery, theft, assault, rape, or even worse. Many people wrongly believe prostitution is legal in Las Vegas, but it’s not; solicitation charges are also common.
No one sets out at the beginning of the night expecting to be arrested. If it happens to you, contact the attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group for advice, and make no statements to law enforcement. Anything you say can be used against you later.
Penalties for Casino-Related Offenses
If you are convicted of a criminal offense at a casino, you may face jail or prison time and stiff fines. Depending on the circumstances, you could receive probation if your case involves a misdemeanor or lower-end felony charge.
Your exact sentence will depend on the type of charge you face and the facts and evidence in your particular case. You can receive an enhanced sentence in the case of repeat offenses. Here are a few examples of potential punishments for casino-related crimes.
Failure to Pay a Casino Marker
Under Nevada law, failure to pay a casino marker may result in a charge of check fraud or passing bad checks. The statute specifically references circumstances when someone has insufficient funds to pay back a credit line extended by “any licensed gaming establishment.”
Punishment is based on how much money is involved. For example, failing to pay back a casino marker of at least $1,200 is considered a Class D felony in Nevada, which is punishable by one to four years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000, along with restitution and administrative costs.
Attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group can help identify potential defenses, including showing that the marker was invalid or that the defendant had no intent to defraud.
Cheating at Gambling
Nevada law defines cheating at gambling as taking steps to “alter the elements of chance, method of selection, or criteria which determine” the results, amount of payment, or frequency of payment in a game. This might include actions like using fake chips or trying to mark cards.
A conviction on a charge of cheating at gambling is a Class C felony. A first-time conviction carries a potential for one to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Subsequent convictions escalate penalties to a Class B felony, with the potential for one to six years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. Lack of intent also offers a potential defense.
Obtaining and acting on inside information about operations at a casino can result in a charge of gaming fraud under Nevada law. Interestingly, you do not necessarily have to be the one placing the bet to face charges. Someone who passes along inside information with the intent to defraud the casino may also face charges.
A conviction of gaming fraud is also a Class C felony, with a penalty of one to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 plus restitution. Subsequent convictions can rise to a Class B felony, with potential prison terms of one to six years and an equal fine plus restitution.
Gaming fraud is a general statute and may offer several defenses. This might include proof that the person who placed the bets wasn’t committing fraud or didn’t have the requisite intent as required under the offense. Let the team at De Castroverde Law work with you to protect your rights and develop your defense.
Need a Lawyer for Your Casino Arrest?
The skilled casino arrest defense attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group in Las Vegas have more than 40 years of combined experience. Our team knows Nevada law inside out and understands the complexities of casino charges. We were the first in Las Vegas to successfully defeat a casino marker’s case and can put our seasoned legal counsel to work for you. Expect to receive an aggressive, strategic, honest, and effective defense. Contact us today at 702-479-7359 for a consultation to discuss your options with a Las Vegas casino arrest defense attorney.
Photo Credit: The Fremont, Outfit Casino by Stephen Hogan is licensed with CC by 2.0