What happens if you get caught cheating in Vegas?

Las Vegas is known as the entertainment and gambling capital of the world. However, there is one gamble that you might not want to take in Nevada: cheating the casinos. It’s not just lousy gamesmanship, it’s against the law and can cause you to incur severe penalties if convicted.

Gaming and gambling taxes make up a large portion of the tax revenues collected by the state of Nevada. With that in mind, you can see why the state has strict laws against defrauding casinos.  Casinos are not just casual entertainment, they’re big business here in Nevada.   

If you’ve been charged with defrauding the casino, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.  My boss, Tony Abbatangelo, is well-versed in defending these types of fraud cases and we’ve worked on many of them together.   

What Are The Consequences For Cheating?

Whether it’s a small establishment or a well-known brand, getting caught cheating the casino can result in embarrassment, lost money, and felony charges.

Getting Detained by Casino Security | The Vegas Lawyers

Forfeiture of Your Winnings

Those caught cheating at the casino are likely to have all winnings seized. The casino has the right to seize your earnings even if they just suspect you of cheating.

Detained by Casino Security

Casino security staff have the right to reasonably detain you until the police come if they suspect you of or catch you cheating. For the most part, the casinos and their security don’t face criminal actions for detaining suspected cheaters.

However, they must have probable cause. Additionally, casino staff must provide an adequate “holding facility” and adhere to time limitations regarding the period of detainment.

Banned by The Casino

Not only can the casino ban you from its premises, but it can also share your information with the Nevada Gaming Commission as well as other casinos. That could lead to you being blacklisted from many Las Vegas casinos.

Criminal Charges

Last but certainly not least, you could face felony criminal charges for cheating the casino. According to NRS 465.083, “It is unlawful for any person, whether the person is an owner or employee of or a player in an establishment, to cheat at any gambling game.”  

The consequence for doing so is a category “C” felony. Implications for a first-time offender include:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Restitution paid to the casino
  • 1-5 years in prison

Repeat offenders face more severe penalties. It should also be noted that individuals convicted of “attempting or conspiring” to defraud a gambling establishment can also be charged with a category C felony. That’s true even if they didn’t successfully complete the crime.

If you’re facing felony charges for gambling in Las Vegas, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you can prove to the courts that you did not have criminal intent, your charges may be reduced or dropped.

Nevada Laws Against Cheating The Casino

Gambling is an integral part of Nevada’s culture and a significant source of revenue for the state. With that in mind, the Nevada legislature makes sure that the public is aware of its  commitment to the casino and hospitality industry by issuing a declaration in NRS 436.0129 essentially saying:

  1. The gaming industry is vitally important to the economy and general welfare of Nevada and its people.
  1. The continued growth of the gaming industry is dependent upon honesty and public confidence.
  1. Strict regulations are required to maintain public confidence.
  1. All gaming establishments and organizations must adhere to the law and regulations to preserve the “competitive economy and free policies within the State of Nevada.”
  1. All gaming activities must be open to the general public and accessible other than exceptions made by the legislature.

Since the gaming industry is so vital to Nevada’s success, those charged with defrauding the casino can expect the prosecution to push for harsh penalties to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

Cheating the casinos | The Vegas Lawyers

Do Las Vegas Casinos Cheat?

Nevada heavily regulates its casinos. A casino or gaming establishment known to cheat isn’t good for tourism, the state’s economy, or Nevada’s inhabitants. However, that doesn’t mean that a casino won’t cheat you or falsely accuse you of cheating to seize your winnings.

For the most part, licensed casinos (especially well-known brands) go to great lengths to ensure their establishments are doing everything “by the book.” However, there is a much greater chance of a gambler being cheated by smaller, lesser-known, illegal casinos.

What To Do If You’re Charged With Cheating A Casino

If a casino suspects you of cheating, it’s security will call the police. If security personnel  attempt to detain you while they wait for law enforcement, it’s in your best interest to comply.  Becoming violent, aggressive, or fleeing the establishment can result in additional charges and an unfavorable impression on the courts.  During this period of detention, it’s best not to say anything that can incriminate you or be twisted by casino security to make you look guilty.  Beware you’ll likely be detained in a location where there are security cameras so if you’re talking, they’ll have video capturing everything you’re saying.  This can be both good and bad.  Good if you’re innocent and bad if you’re guilty.     

Whether you’re charged with cheating, and it was a simple misunderstanding, or you attempted to defraud the casino, it’s in your best interest to hire a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options and mount a strong defense.  The casinos have tremendous resources and influence in Nevada.  The best way to give yourself a fighting chance is to hire a seasoned and experienced criminal defense lawyer.  

Don’t Gamble With Your Lawyer

I’m not a lawyer but I work with some really good ones.  Nothing in this blog is intended to be legal advice.  Instead, the purpose of this blog is to educate and inform.  If you’re facing criminal charges involving cheating a casino, the best thing you can do for yourself is consult with a really good criminal lawyer.  Call us today at (702) 707-7000 for a free and confidential consultation. 


Author: Arelice Parra

Arelice Parra is an experienced and knowledgeable paralegal. She has a talented mind for assisting in solving legal problems. She is a valued member of The Vegas Lawyers.

Learn More about Arelice