Attorney discusses card counters' legal rights regarding detainment in a casino backroom (also called backrooming), barring or trespassing. For more articles about blackjack card counting and the law, or casino countermeasures like barring, backrooming, and trespassing, see the Blackjack Forum library.
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Casino Barring

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What to Do if You are Barred or Backed Off by a Casino

By Robert A. Loeb, Attorney at Law
(From Blackjack and the Law by I. Nelson Rose and Robert A. Loeb)
© Blackjack Forum 1998

Before giving the answers to what a card counter should do if he is barred, some of which are obvious, let me ask the following question: Are you really going to talk them into letting you stay and play? Are you really going to convince them that if they let you stay, they will see that you are not counting cards? Of course not. There is nothing to do but cash in your chips and leave quietly.

If you are not a card counter, it may be worth it to try to persuade the casino of that fact, because the casinos do actually hassle non-counters who may be winning, or because of a faulty conclusion that you are counting cards. Even non-card-counters, however, do not want to be so adamant that they risk some of the consequences listed below.

If you really think that there may be legal action, brought by you or the casino, try to learn the names of the dealer, pit boss, security people, casino manager, or fellow players. It will be important if there are any further legal proceedings. However, you donít want to make things worse. Therefore, what shouldnít you do if the casino is barring you?

What Not to Do if You are Barred or Backed Off by a Casino

1. Donít admit you are a card counter. They donít know for sure. You might deny that you are a card counter, but donít get into a big explanation. It doesnít matter that you bet big off the top of a shoe, or that youíve been losing your shirt. And you donít think that youíre going to persuade them to let you continue playing without heat, do you?

2. Donít wait long enough for your picture to be taken (or for more and better pictures to be taken). High stakes players are more likely to already have a picture on file, but there is no benefit to either the big or small player to have his picture on file.

3. Donít start an argument, or make a loud fuss. You donít want to be arrested for being disorderly.

4. Donít go to the bar and have a drink. You donít want to be arrested for public drunkenness, or have the casino follow you to the parking lot and tip off the police that you are driving drunk.

5. Don't go to the cage and cash out. That is the casino's preferred time and place to snap a good close-up of you. Return to the casino on a different shift, when everyone's forgotten about you, and cash out your chips quietly.

6. Donít show your identification, if at all possible. They donít need it, nor under the typical trespassing statute, do they have a right to demand it. You may have to be very polite in your refusal to show an ID, but you donít want your name in the Griffin book, which contains photographs and descriptions of card counters, alongside photos and descriptions of cheaters.

If you are actually being arrested, you probably will be legally required to produce identification. Donít state that you forgot your driverís license or that you donít have a license. They may follow you to the parking lot, and tip off the police that you are driving without a license (Iíve learned of an actual incident in which a casino did this). You should merely decline to provide identification rather than making excuses for not having identification.

7. Donít touch any casino employee. You may find that they may exaggerate the incident and you may end up getting charged with assault and battery, or the equivalent in your state. Donít let the heat of the moment cloud your judgment. Donít escalate the tensions.

Regarding Confiscation of Chips when Barred

Even though confiscation of your chips should never be legal in the absence of illegal cheating, card counters have had their chips confiscated on occasion, and casinos have refused to redeem their chips on occasion.

Unless the issue is so important to you that you want to become a legal crusader, be practical and prudent. You are on their turf. With rare exceptions, you canít do better than just getting your money and leaving.

If they confiscate your chips, get a receipt, get the names of everyone involved, ask for the basis of the confiscation (in writing if possible), and leave quietly. Then call your lawyer! ♠

[Note from Arnold Snyder: Professional gamblers who will be playing in Las Vegas carry the number of Bob Nersesian in case of confiscation of chips or rough behavior by casino personnel during a barring or any type of illegal detention by a casino. You can find Bob's number in our Interview with Bob Nersesian. See the link at the upper left of this page.

If you will be playing in the Midwest, I'd suggest carrying Bob Loeb's number. He's in the book.

I would also add a suggestion to the advice given by Bob Loeb above. Don't automatically assume that a casino barring will end your career. Every professional gambler has been barred repeatedly, and still manages to keep playing.

Although all casinos will share info on barred players within their corporate group, fewer casinos share information outside that group.]

For more information on your legal rights as a card counter or other type of professional gambler, as well as advice on how to handle the situation if you are barred or back-roomed, see Beat the Players: Casinos, Cops And the Game Inside the Game by Bob Nersesian, a Las Vegas attorney who has won difficult and huge lawsuits filed in recent years by professional gamblers against casinos.

For more information at this web site on professional gambling, casino countermeasures, and the law, see Arnold Snyder's Blackjack Forum Professional Gambling Library

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