What is a Marker in Gambling?


You may have heard the word “marker” muttered around casinos or in movies. But what exactly is a casino marker? Well, to put it simply, a marker is a short-term, interest-free line of credit that the casino establishment offers to high rollers to use for gambling. These are offered to encourage players to continue betting, and they are expected to be paid back in full within 30 days.

Not many places in the world offer casino markers, but Las Vegas is a place where you can find such a loan. Additionally, Nevada has made it a serious crime to default on your casino marker, which can result in fines, restitution, and even time behind bars.

These short-term gambling loans are so common in the state of Nevada, that the Clark County District Attorney’s Office has an entire division dedicated to dealing with unpaid gambling debt prosecutions.

In many other states, not paying back your casino credit is considered a civil offense, and not a crime, which is why it is uncommon for casinos to offer this outside of the gambling state of Nevada.

casino employee, marker, on casino floor

Casino markers offer loans to players — accept with caution.

What’s a Casino Marker?  

A casino marker is usually targeted toward those who gamble professionally. The marker that casino offers is usually a loan for players to try and win back some of their losses, with all funds needed to be paid back in full within 30 days. To get a casino marker, you will need to complete a credit application and then hand it to the casino hosts for the appropriate checks to be carried out.

If the casino establishment approves your application, you will receive a marker. The marker can be exchanged at the casino for cash, or for playing chips to play casino games.

How to Pay a Casino Marker 

You can pay back your casino marker by handing over cash or chips to the casino cashier, along with the marker application within 30 days of taking the loan. This will settle your debt with the casino and the casino will allow you to take another marker in the future if you wish to do so.

woman holding casino chips at table

Use casino chips to pay your marker back.

If you fail to pay back the marker in full within the set time frame, you will be issued a “notice of refusal of payment”. This means you will have ten days to settle the debt before there are legal repercussions.

If you do not pay the marker back on time, the casino files a complaint with the District Attorney (D.A). This means that the case will be picked up by the District Attorney, and it’s deemed out of the casino’s hands. The D.A. will send you a final certified letter that gives you a further 10 days to pay the debt, plus the processing fees, which can be up to 10% of the marker value.

If you don’t pay the debt in time, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. Then, it’s only a matter of time before you are arrested and brought to face the charges.

Jackpot City



What’s the Penalty for Not Paying a Marker? 

If you do not pay back the casino marker in full, you will face some pretty serious charges.

The charges will depend on the size of the marker, if it’s a low marker, no more than $1,200, then you will face a misdemeanor charge, which is up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.

If your marker amount is more than $1,200 then the charges are much harsher. This is then considered a category D felony which can come with up to 4 years in a state penitentiary, on top of the unpaid marker debt, extra administration fees added to the marker amount, and up to $5,000 in fines. Not to mention the D.A. prosecution is considered a completely separate charge. You will also likely face a civil lawsuit from the casino establishment.

The D.A. may agree to dismiss the casino marker charges if the amount is paid in full. In some special cases, you may be granted a payments program where you can pay off the amount through monthly repayments. In rare cases and special circumstances, some prosecutors will allow the debt to be settled for less than the borrowed amount.

If I Declare Bankruptcy, Do Marker Payments Go Away?

In the state of Nevada, the loan payment will still need to be paid off if there is a criminal charge, even if you have declared bankruptcy. However, if the criminal charge has been dropped, then it’s possible that the marker debt may be squashed.

Picking up a casino marker from a casino should not be taken lightly, and in most circumstances should not be considered. You should never gamble with money that you cannot afford to lose. If you feel the need to pick up a loan from the casino, then you may be suffering from a gambling problem and should seek further help.

If you do not pay back the marker, it could have a serious impact on your social and financial well-being. You should also exercise strict bankroll management when you are gambling. This will ensure that you enjoy the betting entertainment, and not walk out of the casino completely broken and miserable. Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world and is all about having fun. To keep things fun, you should try to avoid picking up a marker from a casino.

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