Casino Marker Definition

by Jesse Knight


Casino Marker
Marker - A short term loan or credit line provided to customers by the house.

Casinos typically offer credit to their credit worthy customers. This is in addition to any credit the customer may have established outside of the casino. Casino credit comes in different types, based upon the various wants and needs of the players. One type of credit that poker players may be offered is the ability to write a marker, which is a type of IOU. A marker is essentially credit, which is issued in the form of casino chips or poker chips. When accepting the chips, the player must sign an agreement to pay back the marker within a specified time period. Marker credit is typically only good for the purchase casino chips, making it more restrictive than an open credit line with the casino, which can also be used to get cash and make purchases.

The casino may require a credit check be run before a marker can be issued, however, they may also extend marker privileges to good customers with a good personal repayment history but less than exemplary credit. Based upon their internal risk assessment, the house will set a limit as to the amount each requesting player may access through a casino marker. This amount may be based on such factors as income, average wager amount, and repayment and credit history. Once approved, the customer will generally not have to provide any collateral, or do anything but sign in order to access their marker.

Markers are frequently used by high stakes players, who will often call ahead of their visit to prearrange a credit line which they can write a marker against. Many of these people are wealthy, high profile individuals, who want to gamble at higher stakes, but do not want to carry large amounts of cash with them. Most high stakes players avoid cash because it makes them easy targets for criminals. This is especially true on the tournament trail, where everybody knows who the high stakes players are. These players have to travel long distances, from tournament to tournament, with minimal personal security. For these players, avoiding cash is a personal protection issue.

Markers are typically taken out at the casino cage. The cashier will have the player sign a promissory note or a post dated check, which the casino will issue chips against. The player will then have until the specified date to pay back the marker. When a player pays back a marker, it is called “picking up” the marker. A player may pick up a marker by returning to the cage anytime within the specified time period, with chips or cash equivalent to the marker amount. The cashier will then cancel the note or return the postdated check to the player, and the transaction is complete. The player will then typically have access to their marker again in the future should they want or need it. Usually, a player will be required to pick up their marker before they are entitled to cash out any winnings that resulted from marker play.

Markers are offered as a service to the players, but they also enhance revenue for the house. They are essentially a vehicle which allows players to gamble on future income, within reason. This prevents responsible players from running into cash flow problems which can make regular play prohibitive, and translates into more frequent and stable play from the player.

When a player sings a marker, they obligate themselves to pay it regardless of whether they win or lose at the tables. Typically, there is no interest charged on marker credit, so long as it is paid on time. One can expect that many marker go unpaid or do not get paid in a timely fashion. Casinos are not happy when they are not paid back and they have aggressive collections departments which step in when they are not paid. Sometimes the players who fail to payback their markers are very high profile people, whose failure to pay may have nothing to do with their ability to pay. Casinos can and do cause public relations and legal nightmares for these people when they refuse to pay.

Usage: Write A Marker, Pick Up A Marker, Take Down The Marker, Casino Marker.

Previous Poker Term: Marked Cards
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