You might or might not be interested in using casino credit. For most low rollers and recreational gamblers, casino credit is unnecessary. Using casino credit does have some advantages, though – especially if you’re playing for higher stakes.
What is casino credit?
It’s just the option of getting money to play with even though you’re not carrying around cash.
In this post, I explain how to get and use credit at the casino.
Why Should You Get Casino Credit?
Not everyone should get casino credit. For many people, especially gamblers who are only bringing $100 or $200 to the casino, cash works just as well or better than casino credit.
If you’re playing for larger amounts, though, casino credit is the way to go. You can get the money from your checking account without having to pay the ridiculous ATM fees at the casino – which are invariably much more than the ATM fees anywhere else.
Of course, you’ll also be safer personally without carrying around a lot of cash. Casinos have robust security measures in place. But make no mistake.
The casino security is more interested in protecting the casino’s money than yours.
How Do You Get Casino Credit?
Most casinos make it easy to get casino credit and have multiple ways for you to apply either before you get to the casino or upon your arrival.
At most casinos, you can just pick up an application for casino credit at the VIP desk or at the chip cage. If you’re a high roller, you might already have a casino host – if that’s the case, just ask your host to help you get set up with a line of credit.
You can also just apply for credit on the casino’s website or call the main number for the casino before you even go to the casino.
The credit application will have a section where you can let the casino how you prefer to be notified about your approval. You can opt for a phone call or an email. Some casinos can provide your notification via text, and snail mail is still an option at a lot of properties.
If you apply for credit before visiting the casino, you should visit the chip cage to show your identification. The casino won’t give you access to your credit line until you do.
What Is a Marker?
A casino marker is like a check you’ve written to the casino in exchange for chips. You can request a marker from the table where you’re playing; you don’t normally need to visit the cage for this – at least, not once you’ve confirmed your identification with the casino.
You can ONLY the funds from a marker for real money gambling. The marker is really more like a very short-term loan without interest. You can’t use your marker to pay for a meal at the buffet, for example. You can’t even use a marker for the poker games – usually just the casino table games.
Also, keep in mind that the marker isn’t free money from the casino. You must pay it back within a specifically defined time. That time frame varies from state to state.
How Hard Is It to Get a Line of Credit at the Casino?
It used to be a lot easier to get a marker at a casino than it is now, but it’s still not that hard. Some smaller casinos might not offer markers at all. You’re stuck using the ATMs. Some casinos offer ATMs that don’t require a PIN but charge a fee for transferring your funds.
You can usually cash a check at a casino, too, but honestly – who writes checks for anything any more?
If you do want to cash a check at a casino, you’ll probably need to fill out a form, and you’ll probably have a limit to how much you’re allowed to write the check for.
What Is Central Credit and How Does It Work?
When you apply for credit at a retail store, they check your credit rating through one of the big 3 credit reporting agencies. Casinos, though, use their own credit reporting service called Central Credit. They get their information from all 3 credit reporting agencies, though, so your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion scores all matter.
Basically, if your credit score is 600+ and doesn’t show any accounts more than 60 days overdue, you’ll get approved for $5000. If you have a higher income or a higher credit score, you might be eligible for a higher line of credit.
Regular customers at casinos often get preferential treatment, too, in terms of how much credit is available to them.
How to Convert Your Credit into Chips
Once you’ve jumped through all the hoops, you can ask for a marker when you’re playing any of the table games. The cashier will call a pit boss over, and he’ll bring you a printed check to sign. You’ll exchange that for the casino chips.
If you’re losing and want to get more credit from the casino, you’ll often be able to do, but only within reason. If you have a credit line of $5000 at the casino and lose all of it, the casino might give you another $500 or even $1000.
If you’re winning, you can buy back your marker using your casino chips. You can do this at the table or at the chip cage.
What if You Don’t Pay Your Marker?
In most casinos in most states, you’re expected to pay your marker within 30 days. If you don’t, you can face the same kinds of serious legal consequences you would face if you wrote a hot check anywhere else.
Not only will you have to pay fines, you’ll probably also be sentenced to at least a year in jail. Refusing or failing to pay even a small marker is a felony in Nevada.
If you get in over your head unintentionally, it’s better to seek legal help before things get too sticky. Lawyers can often negotiate with casinos, but you’ll be a lot better off not having to get help from an attorney.
But if you do unintentionally put yourself into legal jeopardy, the time to get help from a professional is sooner rather than later.
Casinos aren’t required to allow you to set up a payment plan, but they sometimes do. A lawyer will probably have more luck negotiating that sort of thing than you would on your own.
How Does the Process Work for Paying Back a Marker?
The casino prefers that you pay your marker off before you check out of your room and go home. If you don’t, you have some time to pay it off, but you’ll get a call from the casino’s credit manager sooner rather than later.
If you don’t pay, you’ll eventually get a certified letter from the casino notifying you that you owe them money, and they’re going to prosecute you for fraud if you don’t pay them within 10 days.
After the 10 days or up, the casino will report you to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.
My Best Advice to Someone Seeking Casino Credit
Unless you’re sure you can pay it back, don’t gamble on credit, ever. If you’re going to use credit at the casino, be sure you have enough money to pay it back and do so immediately.
It makes sense to use a marker to avoid having to carry fat stacks of cash around with you, but don’t just borrow money to try out your new roulette system with.
That is folly of the highest order.
Casino credit has its uses for higher stakes players, but lower stakes players probably don’t need to mess with it. Some casinos don’t even offer markers, in fact.
But if you do get approved for casino credit, always pay back your marker in full as soon as you can.
And if you can’t, get legal help sooner rather than later.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …