When you go to a casino, it can be unclear what you need to pay for. For example, free drinks are common, and the casino lets you change in your money for chips. However, they may not explain exactly which drinks are free and whether or not the chips belong to the casino. The Atlantic City casino crime lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych discuss when it counts as stealing to take something from an Atlantic City casino. If you’ve been charged with any of the below crimes, it is crucial to contact an experienced Atlantic City robbery in a casino lawyer today.
What Constitutes Theft from a Casino in Atlantic City?
In Atlantic City and throughout the State of New Jersey, you commit a theft crime if you take another person’s property with the intent to keep it. You can also commit theft offenses by accepting services or other things without paying for them. You may even face theft charges for failing to return lost property that you find.
While cases of robbing someone else or picking a pocket would obviously be theft, other situations are less clear. In a casino, there are a few circumstances where what you can take and what is “free” may be confusing. Our Atlantic City theft lawyers explain some of these situations:
The chips that you get from winning or exchanging cash are typically yours, not the casino’s. You are usually free to walk out of a casino with your own chips, and many people do this if they will return later that day or the next day. However, grabbing someone else’s chips or taking chips from the house’s stack is illegal. This can result in theft charges immediately, before you even leave the casino. The same is usually true for slot machine tokens.
Free Food and Drinks
In an Atlantic City casino, it is common for staff to give out complimentary food and drinks or to give gamblers vouchers for complimentary services at the casino. These are usually given as free benefits to help encourage you to stay, enjoy your time, and spend more money at the casino. When you get a meal or drink “comped” by the casino, it may not be clear how much is free. If you are given a bill or items are billed to your room, you will ultimately need to pay the bill for those things. If you thought you were getting a free meal or drink, you should speak with a manager, since leaving without paying could be considered a “dine and dash,” which counts as theft.
Most casinos are also hotels, which means that your room may have free amenities like hotel shampoo and soap. Many of these amenities are complimentary, and hotels commonly expect guests to take the shampoo, the soap, or even the pens and stationery. However, this does not mean that anything that isn’t nailed down is yours to keep; you could be charged with theft for taking things like the hair dryer or coffee maker. Things may be less clear regarding gourmet coffee packs, anything in a “minibar” or similar setup, and bathrobes. You should always check for signs or ask hotel staff whether you are free to take these items or else you might face an extra bill or theft charges.
Lost and Found
Casinos are businesses that see hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars change hands within their walls on a daily basis. In addition, many patrons at casinos could be drinking and many of the rooms may be dimly lit. This makes it common for people to drop things like wallets, money, chips, tokens, or vouchers for complimentary food and drink. Generally, mislaid or lost property still belongs to the individual that lost it, and you cannot legally pick it up and keep it. New Jersey law gives individuals a duty to turn in lost items, especially if the owner is easily identifiable. If you find a voucher with someone else’s name on it, a lost wallet with ID inside, or a mislaid stack of casino chips, you should turn these in to casino staff or security rather then keep them, or else you could face criminal charges.
Dodging Parking Fees
Parking is usually just another one of the services casinos offer. If you parked your car in a casino parking deck, there is typically a price associated with that service, though this is sometimes waived as a “thank you” from the casino. Especially if there are signs posted stating how much parking costs, you may be charged with theft for skipping out on paying for parking.
Atlantic City Casino Theft Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was charged with theft for taking something or refusing to pay for services at an Atlantic City hotel, resort, or casino, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers represent the accused and fight to get their cases dropped and dismissed. To schedule a free consultation with our theft attorneys, contact us online or call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.