Unlike the feel good ‘80s dance classic by Club Nouveau with a similar sounding name, a lien is not a good thing. Especially when a fun gambling trip can turn into a lien on your home.
While it may sound far-fetched, gambling casinos putting liens on homes to collect debts is a common practice according to an article in The Day. Interviewed for that article was Raymond Foll, a Connecticut attorney who does debt collection for casinos. Attorney Foll noted, “It’s not just casino debt collection, it’s any debt collection.”
Because people from surrounding New England states travel to Connecticut to gamble, the issue is felt in many states. WPRI.com did an investigation and found that Foxwoods Resort Casino put liens on Rhode Island homes thirty times. Markers are a form of credit that casinos offer to patrons. When that debt is not paid, casinos can use liens to recover their money. According to the same investigation, an attorney who would only speak anonymously, said that while Foxwoods often uses property liens, collections agencies are used by Mohegan Sun.
The Providence Journal reported that state legislation was recently filed to prevent casinos from putting liens on Rhode Island property. Not to be outdone, it was also reported that legislation was filed that would allow the state’s own casino, Twin River Casino to offer up to “$75,000.00 in interest-free, unsecured credit.”
Moving further north, Massachusetts is now dealing with casino gambling as well. Both earlier mentioned Connecticut casinos are seeking licenses to operate in the Bay State. The Boston Globe reports that the state’s Attorney General, Martha Coakley is very concerned with the practice of property liens being used to satisfy gambling debts.
“Protecting against predatory lending and overly aggressive debt collection in the gaming industry is critical, because the odds are stacked against the patron being able to earn back the value of the loan,” wrote Coakley, who is also a candidate for governor. “This practice by the gaming industry in which customers’ homes are put at risk should not be allowed.”
As awareness of this practice spreads with the increasing number of casinos, this issue is surely something that we will see more of across the country.