You can be questioned and detained in a Las Vegas casino if security believes you are cheating, and the casino and the security guards cannot be held criminally or civilly liable in most cases.
Because casino gambling is so important to the Las Vegas economy, Nevada legislators have enacted harsh penalties for cheating in casinos. A first offense is a category B felony punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison. In addition to enacting harsh penalties for cheating, the legislature has also passed laws that protect casinos and their employees when they detain and question suspected cheaters.
In particular, under NRS 465.101, subsection 1, any casino employee or independent contractor—not just security guards—may "question" any person if that person is "suspected" of cheating in the casino. Neither the casino nor the employee can be held criminally or civilly liable for questioning a suspected cheater. There are no exceptions to this rule, nor is there any standard that the casino's suspicion be "reasonable."
Subsection 2 of NRS 465.101 pertains to when casinos decide to go beyond mere questioning and actually detain a suspected cheater. Unlike the unqualified right casinos have to question suspected cheaters, casino security must have "probable cause" to detain a suspected cheater. "Probable cause" has been defined by the Nevada Supreme Court as reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person accused has probably committed that crime. Furthermore, under NRS 465.101(2), even when casino security has "probable cause" to detain a suspected cheater, the detention must be done "in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time."
If the casino follows these guidelines, the casino and its agents cannot be held criminally or civilly liable. In fact, this statute goes one step further and elevates the normal civil liability standard that a plaintiff has to meet before he is entitled to monetary compensation. Specifically, a person who believes he was wrongly detained by casino security must establish by "clear and convincing evidence" that the taking into custody and detention are "unreasonable under all the circumstances." Normally, a plaintiff in a civil action must only prove the defendant's liability by a "preponderance of evidence." This means the jury must find that the plaintiff's version of facts is more likely true than untrue. However, the "clear and convincing evidence" standard is more difficult to establish.
NRS 465.101 does require that casinos meet one minor prerequisite before they start questioning and detaining people free from any criminal and civil liability. The casino must display the following notice in a "conspicuous place" and in clearly legible, boldface type:
"Any gaming licensee, or any of the officers, employees or agents of the gaming licensee who has probable cause for believing that any person has violated any provision of chapter 465 of NRS prohibiting cheating in gaming may detain that person in the establishment."
The take away point here is that if you find yourself detained in a Las Vegas casino and accused of cheating, you probable cannot successfully sue the casino or the security guards. What you can and should do, however, is not make any statements to security if you are detained on suspicion of cheating. You will rarely, if ever, be able to talk your way out of the situation, and you risk making statements that can be used against you in any upcoming criminal case.
Click here for a more complete discussion of accusations of casino cheating.