The Ninth Circuit in Zoggolis v. Wynn Las Vegas, LLC

The Ninth Circuit in Zoggolis v. Wynn Las Vegas, LLC, — F.3d —- (2014) recently affirmed many of the basic rules governing Casino Markers.  Because casino markers are credit instruments, Zoggolis’ claims did not trigger the Gaming Control Board’s exclusive jurisdiction over “a gaming debt that is not evidenced by a credit instrument . . .” NRS 463.361(2). Rather, Zoggolis’ claims must be resolved in the same manner as any other dispute involving the enforceability of a negotiable instrument. The lawsuit alleges that Wynn breached its credit-line agreement by failing to honor Zogglis’ request to limit the credit line to $250,000.00 by issuing $1.3M in additional markers.

This opinion confirms that criminal prosecutions can result as a failure to pay Casino Markers because they resemble “bad checks” (as opposed to a loan) since they represent  “instruments that are drawn upon a bank, payable on demand, signed by the payor, and which instructs the bank to pay a certain amount to the payee.”  Likewise, this litigation reminds gamblers that one of the most important protections against excessive gambling is to ask the Casino in advance for a Restricted Credit Line.  Pursuant to Nevada Gaming Control Regulation § 5.170(4), a Casino “shall implement a program . . . that allows patrons to self-limit their access to the issuance of credit, check cashing, or direct mail marketing by that licensee . . .”  However, you must be aware of the representation on the Marker acknowledging that you have sufficient funds “on deposit in the referenced financial institution” and the guarantee payment provision.  As a result, you should always get confirmation of any restricted credit line in writing from the Casino.

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