On your next trip to a Las Vegas casino, you may want to think twice before agreeing to take out a casino marker.
In 1976 Article 11 of the ICCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – came into effect stating, “No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.”
Nevada has created an exception to this international standard in order to benefit the local casinos. By extending credit (casino markers) to gamblers in exchange for a check from the gambler, casinos are able to press criminal charges against the gambler for drafting a bad check if the gambler is unable to pay back the casino marker.
Long gone are the days of casinos sending their henchmen to break kneecaps. Now they use the police and threaten a felony conviction and a prison sentence to intimidate and effectuate payment on the casino markers. A conviction in Nevada under this statute can lead to a prison sentence of 1-4 years.
The law states:
NRS 205.130 Issuance of check or draft without sufficient money or credit: Penalties.
1. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection and subsections 2 and 3, a person who willfully, with an intent to defraud, draws or passes a check or draft to obtain:
(b) Delivery of other valuable property;
(d) The use of property; or
(e) Credit extended by any licensed gaming establishment,
drawn upon any real or fictitious person, bank, firm, partnership, corporation or depositary, when the person has insufficient money, property or credit with the drawee of the instrument to pay it in full upon its presentation, is guilty of a misdemeanor. If that instrument, or a series of instruments passed in the State during a period of 90 days, is in the amount of $650 or more, the person is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall order the person to pay restitution.
2. A person who was previously convicted three times of a misdemeanor under the provisions of this section, or of an offense of a similar nature, in this State or any other state, or in a federal jurisdiction, who violates this section is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall order the person to pay restitution.
3. A person who willfully issues any check or draft for the payment of wages in excess of $650, when the person knows he or she has insufficient money or credit with the drawee of the instrument to pay the instrument in full upon presentation is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
4. For the purposes of this section, “credit” means an arrangement or understanding with a person, firm, corporation, bank or depositary for the payment of a check or other instrument.