Las Vegas Casinos Unsure What to do About Trespassers

In Las Vegas, the world’s mecca for casino gambling, the number of wild and crazy stories that originate every single day could fill not just a book, but a library of books. From petty thefts to crimes as serious as murder—and just about everything in between—Las Vegas has seen it all. More recently, a problem has arisen that casinos are not quite sure how to contend with. In a way, this problem has probably existed for a while but is only now gaining attention thanks to the sheer number of people and casinos in the city.

The issue at hand is what a casino is supposed to do when a person who has been asked to leave their property comes back and wins money. In other words, if someone consumes too much alcohol and causes a disturbance on the casino floor, the casino is well within its right to remove that person or even permanently ban them. This is something that happens all the time. What casinos are now having to deal with are situations where a banned person comes back and wins money. The casino does not want to pay this person out because they were not supposed to be there, but a recent ruling shows that the casinos often have no choice in the matter.

Banned Patrons Winning Jackpots?

One of the more recent events that took place in Las Vegas occurred at the Casablanca hotel-casino back in early October. A patron who had previously been ordered off the property on numerous occasions for a variety of different offenses came back and won more than $2,000 on a slot machine. When the patron was due to be paid out their winnings by the casino, the casino attendants instead came out and informed the patron that they were not going to be paid out because they were not supposed to be there in the first place.

That argument may be valid in the eyes of conventional wisdom, but in the eyes of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the serial trespasser was entitled to their winnings.

This is just one incident, but in Las Vegas and elsewhere around the country this is an issue that is only growing worse. In Las Vegas specifically, decades-old regulations mean that even being criminally trespassed from a casino will not prevent a player from being paid out their winnings. This, combined with the extremely low level of the offense in the eyes of the law, mean that banned players are hardly deterred from reentering a casino and playing there.

According to Fox Las Vegas, this past July alone saw more than 80 criminal cases relating to casino trespassers brought before the courts. With this type of caseload, it is impossible for the courts to keep up and even more difficult for the casinos to keep away those that they have determined to be a problem. Increased penalties for trespassers—and especially repeat offenders—seems like the obvious answer, but that type of action is not even being talked about right now. For the time being, the casinos and those they trespass will continue playing a permanent game of cat and mouse, and the casino will be on the hook if those banned players end up winning money.

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