Casino Credit - how it worksI am not referring to "check cashing privileges" which most anyone may obtain, at least for reasonably sized checks, but about lines of credit where you may pull "markers" against it to be paid back within a period of time.
In general figure that markers are like American Express - that must be paid back in full every billing cycle.
When I used to gamble heavily, I had $20K lines at almost every major casino in Vegas, plus $20K - $50K lines in every casino on the south shore in Tahoe. Then I quit gambling for over a decade, and recently started getting back into it, and now have several $50K lines in Vegas only.
When you apply for casino credit, they will look at the following:
1. They will do a hard pull of your consumer credit. (Some - very few - do a soft pull.) Obviously they want to see that you have good credit and pay your bills, but also they don't want to see maxed out credit cards, which could be a sign of financial strain. The authorization to run your consumer credit will be right there in the application you submit/sign.
2. They will pull some form of "casino industry" credit for you, to determine what casino credit lines you have had in the past, and whether you have been faithful with always paying them off without delinquencies. To some extent when they pull this they are also looking to see how much credit you have available out there, but for whatever reason casinos don't seem to worry too much about this - in other words, if you qualify with one casino for a $50K line and that casino sees that you already have two other $50K lines out there, they don't check to make sure that you could pay off a $150K blowout. They should check to make sure you could potentially pay back a blow out on all open lines, but they do not.
Back then this credit report was always pulled from a Las Vegas outfit called Central Credit - these days they are using an outfit out of San Diego called VisuaLimits LLC (aka NCC Reports).
What a lot of people don't know, is that these casino credit bureaus must follow the same rules as consumer credit bureaus, including giving you a free annual copy of your credit report, deleting any derogatory information seven years after last payment, deleting inquiries after two years, and so on.
3. They will verify the average balance at the checking accounts you give them, over the past 90 days. They will in general give you only a credit line that is equal to or lower than the average balance in the accounts you give them for verification. So if you have a checking account with say, an average $75K balance, you will more than qualify for a $50K line.
One thing that has changed with respect to what kind of checking accounts the casinos will accept, is that in the old days, casinos would accept any checking account, business or personal, for verification without regards to who owned the business, practically, as long as you were a signer on the account. Nowadays they are more strict about this, and want to verify that you are the 100% owner of that account and business, if you submit a business account, and some of the casinos now insist on personal checking accounts only for verification.
Besides the above big 3, they will of course also look at your age, on some of these applications they will ask for your employment and stated income, and they will also look at your gaming history to see how reliable you have been with your past casino dealings. If your host knows you, he can step in and vouch for you and override some minor concerns that might come up during the checks of the above three big factors. The best way to apply is to first get friendly with a host and submit the application through your host, who will go to bat for you to some extent to get you the line, especially if he knows you.
Once you have your line, you may pull any amount up to your line per trip, and they might even authorize temporary what they call "TTO" credit line increases on a per trip basis. If you lose and are unable to pay your line off during your stay, they will deposit the markers in due course, just like checks, into your accounts. If they know you and you have a good gaming history with them, they will wait up to 90 days before they deposit, but nowadays they like to deposit everything much sooner than that.
In Nevada, if a deposited marker bounces and you fail to make good on it, casinos will turn the checks over to the district attorney who will prosecute you for check fraud, and add 10% to the balance owed as a fee, and basically extort all of it out of you with the threat of criminal prosecution hanging over your head. If it gets to that point, the D.A. sometimes just threatens to file a case, other times does file it but withholds the arrest warrant, and in some cases proceeds all the way with a prosecution, but in all cases if the NSF (non-sufficient funds) check offender pays up he avoids jail. The basic rule is to never sign one of those markers unless you know you have the funds to cover it one way or another, and to treat gambling very seriously.
Advantages of marker play are that a casino will be much more liberal about extending you comps (free stuff) if they know you have an established line which means that you are giving them a regular shot at taking your money, versus a cash player or even a front money player (one who deposits or wires funds to the casino in advance of each visit) where they can't know for sure that they will be able to get hold of any more of your money than what you have presented that trip. Disadvantages of course are that if you lose control you might end up blowing out your whole line.
Other advantages of marker play are that it can give you the leverage ("bullets") to come back from a loss, because you may keep playing, but - in general - if you are on a losing streak having less money available is better than having a lot.
Good luck, and gamble responsibly!
>a hard pull of your consumer credit
I have obtained casino credit at several places recently, and this evidently has not happened. I have checked and there is no record of any such inquiry at the credit bureaus. I assume a hard check leaves a record, and other such activity by other outfits does show up on record, but not anything initiated by getting cleared to use markers.
The one lady at the first place I applied talked to me about what she would do and said they call your bank. Subsequently I learned they do have this central credit as you call it, basically casinos cooperating on information.
There might be circumstances under which they would check your consumer credit history but I did not encounter this.
Long ago casinos got ripped off by two brothers who took names off some headstones and opened a line of credit for their baccarat play. By having a few confederates at the other end of the table they were pretty much just churning the accounts and getting their credit levels raised by paying all markers within 48 hours of returning home. After the free rooms, free cigars, free brandy lifestyles their marker limits were up to 800,000 and by careful timing at shift changes they took their chips and left town with lots of cash.
Now casinos are often doing separate marker systems but they are linked by faxes and email networks so multiple draw downs will not go unnoticed. They check more carefully about your owning the car dealership rather than just owning part of it.
I had the Venetian call my bank twice even though each check was a cashier's check and I was not seeking a marker account or anything. Its just they worry about home computer color printers turning out cashier's checks even if its below 20k.
The world has changed.
The Seminoles will cash regular government checks such as disability payments but they won't cash anything over a grand even if its from the federal government. Some members of the Immokalee poker breakfast club would spend most or their time at Florida poker rooms but do their banking at other casinos such as Biloxi. The Seminoles were viewed as being too cheap and inefficient.
odiousgambit - almost every casino in Vegas and Tahoe now uses VisuaLimits LLC (NCC Reports) and if you apply for a line they will pull your personal credit and you will see a hard inquiry on there. This hard pull of your personal credit happens instantly and automatically when you apply for the line via VisuaLimits LLC (NCC). Even if you apply for more than one line, even the same day at different properties, NCC will pull your credit separately, with a separate inquiry appearing on your personal credit showing such as:
Ncc/treasure Island LI
Ncc/cosmopolitan Of La
Ncc/wynn Las Vegas
NCC uses Experian. So if you apply for casino credit with any casino associated with VisuaLimits LLC (NCC Reports), you will see a hard inquiry on your Experian personal credit.
I think it is possible that Venetian/Palazzo does not use VisuaLimits LLC (NCC Reports), and therefore might not do a hard pull. Confirmed: I now noticed that Venetian (Las Vegas Sands LLC) does a soft pull of your Experian consumer credit. But, they still do pull your consumer credit nonetheless.
Outstanding info, MDawg. Thanks very much for the report!
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the " major credit-reporting agencies" and outfits such as this NCC, which is either Nationwide Credit Corporation [alexandria va] or Nationwide Credit Clearing [Chicago] , seem to be some sort of specialized similar businesses.
So I am trying to learn something here.
As far as I can glean, these NCCs are collection agencies and as such do generate data that functions as a credit report. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion do not do collections; NCC types can report to those 3 though and affect your credit. Businesses who use something to get check writing approved would use NCC type services. So it does make sense for the casino credit department to check you out with such as NCC but may not need to, or want to, check with Equifax etc.
I was reluctant to get approved for markers when I was preparing to apply for credit somewhere, I didn't want a record with the majors of casino activity on my credit report. I waited until I knew it was going to be a while before I'd be applying for credit again. After applying for casino credit, though, I found that Equifax and TransUnion at least had no record of any casinos checking in with them.
The distinction I think is important. Note that I may have said something incorrect above and also can't be sure that my experience would be everyone's experience.
PS there is a visual limits dot com website but I'm not sure what to make of it
There are some questions about VisuaLimits LLC (NCC Reports). The one that reports casino credit is the company in San Diego - apparently not the one in Vegas that sells "intelligent table limit signs."
This is the website of the one we want
I am looking right now at my VisuaLimits LLC (NCC Reports) report. It shows each casino where I have applied for a credit line, and each active line that I have. It also gives the bank ratings on each bank account I submitted for verification, and includes info on its average balance (high 5, low 6, etc.), and indicates whether it is a personal or corporate account, and if a business account some notation of whether they were able to verify ownership of the company/account.
Under each active casino credit line, there is even a notation of how much you have pulled out, similar to a consumer credit agency report that indicates "high balance" on a credit card (meaning, what's the most you have ever pulled out). Of course here would also be a notation of any outstanding markers you have, plus any derogatory information if you are past due.
If you go to the VisuaLimits (NCC Reports) website, you will find a "Request Your Free Report" which you are entitled to one free annually, and one anytime you have applied for casino credit and been turned down.
When you apply for casino credit with a casino that is associated with VisuaLimits (NCC Reports), NCC will hard pull your Experian consumer credit, and supply that to the casino for consideration along with their own "NCC Report."
As with all credit bureaus, VisuaLimits LLC (NCC Reports) and Experian do not decide whether or not you get credit, they are merely reports that are used by the casinos in deciding whether to grant your request.
VisuaLimits LLC (NCC reports), is not, as far as I am aware, any kind of collection agency. Rather, it is a credit reporting bureau.
PERSONAL credit: Things may have changed, but I know of people in the past who stiffed casinos and nothing happened to their personal credit. There are a lot of different ways that this may go and the end result of whether or not your personal credit is affected depends on how it goes. For example, if the casino keeps the debt in house and does not give it to an outside collection agency, it might not ever appear on your personal credit, or, even if they do report it, it might depend on the collection agency's practices as far as whether it appears on your personal credit. In some instances the collection might go all the way to court and result in a civil judgment against you, which again, it just depends on whether the personal credit agencies pick up on that judgment as far as whether it will affect your personal credit. If the marker goes to criminal prosecution, I don't think it would affect your personal credit, but then - you'd have bigger problems to worry about anyway than bad personal credit if you did not pay up what was owed to the district attorney, as mentioned in my original blog post.
>If you go to the VisuaLimits (NCC Reports) website, you will find a
>"Request Your Free Report" which you are entitled to one free annually
So I did this! A report came promptly in the mail. Most things about it are clear enough, other things are greek to me . I think I can see why a phone call to the bank is in order as well.
By the way, if anyone is still doubting that casinos pull your personal credit when issuing a credit line - below are the relevant images from my Experian that I got a free copy of recently.
I redacted the exact dates, and some of the inquiries were about to drop off this particular credit report at the two year mark, but you may note that Wynn, Cosmopolitan, Treasure Island and Palms all do a hard inquiry. Venetian (Sands LLC) does a soft. But all do pull your personal credit and will not issue you a credit line without looking at it closely. No deadbeats allowed!
For any who still doubt that your personal credit is run when you apply for a casino credit line, I applied last week for another line at a casino in Vegas, for an upcoming trip (basically because one of the major casinos in Vegas I play at remains closed, so I explored another option), and once the application was made
within seconds I got the alert
that my Experian had been pulled by the casino.
They have a new system within the NCC / Visua Limits application which is common to almost all casinos these days, where after you enter your banking information they give you the option to then verify the accounts instantly via login to your online banking.
Again, to get casino credit you must have:
1 - Good personal credit
2 - Good casino credit (past history of casino marker payments)
3 - Sufficient average balances in your bank accounts - and they look back it appears as far back as nine months - to justify whatever credit line you are requesting.