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Las Vegas Casinos Fail To Collect $110M Worth Of Markers Given To Gamblers In 2016

Bad Debt Expenses Down From Calendar Year 2015

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Casinos on or around the Las Vegas Strip often extend casino credit, also known as markers, to gamblers. Last year, the casinos failed to collected $110.2 million of the markers, according to a state gaming report.

That represented two percent of gaming revenue for the Strip.

According to data compiled by the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the figure was down from the $132.7 million the casinos wrote off as unpayable in 2015. Over the last 10 years, the casinos have generally gotten better at lowering their bad debt expenses, which usually rise during economic downturns.

The worst year ever for the casinos in terms of bad debt expenses was in 2000, when Strip area casinos had $230.9 million in unpaid markers. The casinos sometimes go through the courts to try to recover the money. The state also sometimes charges individuals criminally over unpaid casino debt. A law dating back more than 30 years allows for this criminal prosecution.

For example, poker pro Ted Forrest was charged last fall for allegedly not paying more than $200,000 owed to a Strip casino. He’s accused of passing a bad check and theft.

Just how common is extending credit to high rollers? According to a report from Reuters, two-thirds of all table bets at Sands Las Vegas properties, for example, are made through markers.

Reuters also reported that the Clark County Bad Check Unit went after more than 2,600 casino debts in 2015. The DA’s office made $2.2 million from the cases, according to public records.