Casinos Missing out on Millions due to gamblers debts
As the economy enters recession, some casinos are recording losses reaching into the millions, with some gamblers walking away from tables with debts in excess of a million dollars.
Las Vegas casinos have always used a system whereby gamblers buy their chips on credit, signing a marker which works in the same way as a bank check would. However, record numbers of markers are bouncing, meaning that the casinos are becoming out of pocket.
“On a daily basis, we see large amounts that people gamble and don't repay,” says Deputy District Attorney Bernard Zadrowski.
One of the worst offenders is millionaire Terrance Watanabe of Nebraska. In his visits to Caesars Palace and the Rio Hotel, the criminal complaint filed last week shows that he has received markers from $200,000 to $875,000, which is the biggest case of unpaid gambling debts the Las Vegas prosecutors have ever seen.
Zadrowski suggests that it is the workers in hotels and the people who live in Vegas who are most likely to be indirectly affected by cases such as Watanabe’s, at a time when getting laid off is particularly likely, and employers may be looking to make cut backs.
Currently, rather than sentencing the offenders to jail time, prosecutors have been attempting to come up with payment plans in order to pay back the debt, however, as the defendants are often unable to contribute anything toward repaying their debt, this approach is becoming increasingly difficult.
Five-hundred new cases a month are being reported to Clark County’s Bad Check Unit, however, these are just the cases which the casinos have opted to report, ignoring any cases which the casinos decide to pursue without pressing any charges.