This is a three-part update on casino credit.
Part One deals with the new Cash Transaction Reporting requirements, and what it means for you and your winnings. How to get credit, how to use it, and how to pay it back, are all covered, along with some useful tips.
Part Two deals with the use and benefits of casino-credit, and how to raise your stature as a player without raising the risk to your bankroll. We’ll discuss how to minimize your appearance on IRS radar, and how to deflect attention away from your winnings.
Part Three covers the “corporate family” of related-casinos. We’ll take a look at how establishing credit with just eight (8) casino companies, can give you readily-accessible credit in at least 50 casinos, and possibly up to 110 casinos nationwide.
Here then my friends, is Part One:
There’s been some concern lately about the new credit reporting regulations that were brought in after the terrorism attacks of 9-11, and how they affect your casino play.
It would appear that the tragic events of September 11, 2001 galvanized a nation against terrorists. It would also appear that those events were used to bring a number of other issues to the front of the legislative-agenda.
Money-laundering in the casino-context was thought to have been severely curtailed when the “$10,000 single cash-transaction” rules were brought about nearly twenty years ago. They were updated in 1992, ’94 and in then again ’97.
Recently, new laws were enacted for all U.S. financial institutions that are much stricter and more widely encompassing. They were instituted to prevent criminals or criminal organizations from washing, funneling and re-channeling funds in an attempt to either hide their true origin, or to create a circuitous route so as to make tracking and tracing of those funds more difficult.
Casinos have been included in the “financial institution” definition since 1994, however, the onus of reporting “suspicious activities” has been beefed-up by way of large fines to the casinos if they “knew or should have known” that certain financial transactions were suspicious in any wat whatsoever..
Simply, that means that casino-cage staff will now err on the side of protecting their butts, and the corporate butts of their employers.
The new laws are long and complicated, but I’ll give you a thumbnail sketch.
- The newest reportable-transaction "threshold" is $5000, instead of the old $10,000 limit, over a 24-hour period.
- This used to apply to “cash only”, but now it specifically includes without limiting the generality, such things as money orders, certified checks, bank drafts, wired funds, casino chips (cheques), Letter of Credit, Lines of Credit, redeemed Promissory Notes and Casino Markers, etc.
- Some casinos are volunteering to collect client info for cash transactions exceeding $3000. This data is not necessarily submitted to the government. Rather, they compile the client-transaction figures, and if something sparks their mistrust; they can submit your file and also flag your players account for further surveillance.
- All of those above-mentioned amounts are for ALL cumulative CASH (or converted to cash) transactions in a "forward-rolling" 24-hour period.
- That means that even if you do four or five or ten small transactions over a 24-hour period, your activities could be reportable.
- "Forward-rolling" means a “moving” 24-hour clock where, if you had a rash of cash-ins yesterday; they may be counted towards the total of cash-dealings that you are doing today.
- All Nevada casinos have adopted a "compulsory voluntary " (yes, I know it's an oxymoron) monitoring program for ALL casino cage transactions. Simply, they can ask anyone to produce valid ID before completing ANY transaction if they suspect the person could be possibly involved, either knowingly or unwittingly, and either directly or indirectly with any POSSIBLE or potentially illegal activity. It is a pretty broad latitude and definition, but so far they have been pretty easy-going about their responsibilities.
- Not all casino-credit transactions fall under the conventional "cash transactions" definition, but the same rules as above may be applied in the sole and unfettered discretion of casino management.
- Casino wins of greater than $1199 DO NOT have to be reported “directly” to the I.R.S. by way of WG-2 form 1099, if won at a gaming table, as opposed to wins on a slot machine. However, all U.S. residents are required to report ALL gaming income in their annual tax-returns.
Okay, that covers the new regulations. Now, let’s take a look at HOW you actually establish casino-credit.
- To establish credit, simply call up your favorite casino using their toll-free 800-number and ask for the Casino Credit department.
- They will have a few simple questions for you, the most important of which is your bank checking-account number.
- They will also ask when you are planning to visit and how much credit you want to establish with them.
- Generally, your Credit Line can be as high as the lower of either your current balance or your six-month average account balance.
- They will usually have a reply to your request within three days.
- Some casinos will fax or e-mail their credit application to you. Some will fully complete it over the telephone.
- Different casinos have different policies, and they will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
- In Atlantic City, the rules are a bit stricter, and fall under financial institutions' "know-your-client" rules. In this case, you MAY have to provide recent tax-returns, proof of income, proof of IRA, Money Market and other account balances, and/or Net Worth Statements, etc.
- Once you are approved and get to the Casino Cage, you will have to show picture ID, and sign a few forms and a signature card.
- Different casinos have slightly different policies, and they will again answer any questions. Through the wonders of modern technology, you can immediately draw down a "marker" at the tables.
- When you get to the craps table for the first time since establishing credit, have both you Photo ID and your Players Card ready.
- Get the attention of the boxman, or better yet, a floor-supervisor if there is one nearby.
- As you are handing in your ID and Players Card, simply ask for a “marker for $xxxx”.
- They may ask you to fill out a small marker-requisition chit, but usually not. The M-R has blanks for your name, date-of-birth, and the amount of credit that you want.
- The floor-supervisor will then give the request to a Pit Clerk, who will consult the ever-necessary computer to access your file.
- The computer printer will soon spin out a “three-part marker. A marker is simply a casino counter-check wherein you are the “payer” and the casino is the “payee”. It is a legal document, and in Nevada, check-fraud carries the highest penalties of ANY U.S. state, AND there is NO statute of limitations on fraud in Nevada. What does that mean to you? Don’t sign a marker if you cannot afford it. It is a legal promise to pay, and Nevada casinos take that legal-promise VERY seriously!
- The floor-supervisor will come around to your position at the table. He’ll probably have a small plexiglass clipboard with the marker attached to it. You simply sign the marker and the corresponding amount of casino-chips are counted out and pushed to your table position. That’s just about it. You can bet as you wish.
- When you are ready to finish play, you will either be ahead, even or behind in the amount of your marker buy-in.
- If you are ahead with profit, you can buy-back or “pay off” your marker right there at the table. You don’t have to do so, but it shows a lot of good-faith on your part if you do.
- When you pay back a marker, the top copy is given to you. That’s the copy with your original signature on it. The first thing that you should do is to immediately rip off the portion that contains your signature. You should tear the signature portion into very small pieces and discard it in the trash. The balance of the marker can be destroyed in a less exacting manner.
- If you have broken even, the casino still feels that you are showing good-faith if you pay off your marker at that time.
- If you lost money, you are not expected to pay off the marker right away. Usually, the cage-supervisor will have asked you how you will be settling your account at the end of your current trip.
- To settle a marker, you have several choices. You can pay by cash, check, or you can make “marker deposit arrangements” with the casino.
- “Marker deposit arrangements” are simply a pre-agreed period of time before which the casino will deposit your unpaid marker into their bank account for collection from your bank. Remember, a marker is simply a counter-check that is made out to the casino, and signed by you.
- In most cases, a casino will give you a 30-day grace-period before they deposit the marker for collection. In some cases, if they agree, they will hold the marker for up to 90-days. The last thing that they want is a bounced NSF check from you.
- If you have credit at more than one casino, and you have an uncollected marker that is outstanding at one place, you may not be able to access your Line-of-Credit at other casinos. This does not only apply to casinos that are owned by the same company. All casinos in Nevada use their own shared-information Credit Bureau. If they think that you are trying to “pull a fast one”, they can summarily freeze your Line of Credit. Casino Credit is a privilege, not a right.
In Part Two of this series, we’ll look at how to keep our casino-play beneath the IRS radar, while at the same time, maximizing our comps?
Until then, Good Luck and Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.