Using Probable Cause

Before making an arrest, probable cause must be enacted. This is a set of conditions that law enforcement officials feel satisfied with before making an arrest. The agent must have sufficient evidence in the form of witness testimony, recordings, or physical evidence that would convince a rational person that a specific crime was committed by the suspect. Suspicion is not probable cause as it would never hold up in court.

An arrest must abide by the characteristics of the law that is potentially being broken. NRS 465 is a violation that enforces cheating in gambling. Therefore, before an arrest for cheating at a casino, the arresting agency must be familiar with the term cheat and have evidence to prove it.

Evidence of cheating according to the law includes:

  • An alteration of the gambling devices that determined the outcome of the game
  • An alteration of the gambling devices that determined the amount of payment in a game
  • An alteration of the gambling devices that determined the frequency of pay in a game

The investigating agent does not make the decision to arrest the suspect. In many cases, there is not enough evidence to initially arrest the suspect so the agent completes the investigation and presents the findings to the District Attorney for a warrant. In some cases, significant probable cause exists with a lack of evidence. Therefore, the suspect cannot be arrested solely for this purpose.

The casino can make a citizen’s arrest found in provision NRS 171.126. However, casinos must be careful as they assume all criminal and civil liability when this course of action is pursued.

When an employee observes a gaming crime that does not endanger life or safety, there are a few specific steps that should be taken. First, the actions of the suspect should immediately be recorded to obtain a clear identity. Second, the employee’s immediate supervisor should be contacted.

Third, a Security Manager should be informed that the employee is watching that individual. Fourth, continue to observe the perpetrator until an investigative agent arrives. At this point hand over the investigation to the agent.

Probable cause gives law enforcement officials the right to make an arrest based on strong evidence. In the casino industry, it is important to have all ducks in a row and keep the communication lines open until an investigative agent arrives and provides direction. This protects the casino from significant loss due to cheating.