Civil Forfeiture in Nevada is both Wrong and Bad for Business By Bob Dancer August 18, 2015 at 1:03 am There has been an ongoing case involving a motorist stopped near Elko, Nevada. His motor home was searched, no drugs were found, but the vehicle and $167,000 was seized. The motorist wasn’t arrested or charged with any crime. There have been a number of articles on this. The following one shows a video produced by the police. http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/19177-hawaii-man-fights-asset-forfeiture-case-similar-to-the-poker-players-in-iowa Asset forfeiture is happening all across the country. At least one state, New Mexico, has eliminated it. Former United States Attorney General Eric Holder ruled that federal police will not engage in it except when there is a crime being charged. A Canadian friend tells me that there are regular warnings to Canadians not to carry money when they are traveling in the United States because the police here steal it time and time again. The reason, “We think you maybe are going to buy drugs with this money,” even if there is no evidence, is sufficient to take all money. Sometimes motorists get the money back — after a legal struggle and significant lawyer fees. Personally I believe this is an embarrassment for the United States. The reason I’m writing this is that the case in question happened in Nevada. Gamblers regularly travel between casinos carrying cash. Sometimes large sums of cash. The livelihood of casinos depends on gamblers being allowed to bring money in. So why is asset forfeiture going on on Nevada highways? Casinos support lobbyists and lobbyists can influence the laws that are passed. It is in the casinos’ interest to see that this stops. This particular case probably didn’t involve a gambler, or at least not a big one. The money in the video was mostly in twenty dollar bills. Most gamblers carry hundreds. (Nowhere near $167,000 was shown in the video). Other articles said the motorist said he was going to California to buy some property. Even if that was true, he was in Elko and had to pass through Reno and Lake Tahoe along the way, along with numerous smaller places. Casinos there definitely want motorists to stop in and play. The police seizing the money eliminated this possibility. The motorist was stranded on the side of a snowy road with very little money, no vehicle, and no cell phone. A federal judge has ruled he should get his money back, but the prosecutor is doing all sorts of legal maneuvers to prevent this from happening. For most people, having $167,000 of your assets seized can really put a damper in their lifestyle. Casinos have the ability to lobby to prevent these kinds of things from happening. And it’s to their interest to do so. If a motorist is being arrested (perhaps several pounds of marijuana are in the vehicle), that’s a different story. But seizing everything on mere suspicion — and then playing hardball to prevent the return of the assets even when a judge orders it — is something that shouldn’t be happening anywhere in the United States, and especially not in states where casinos are a major industry. It’s both wrong and it’s against the interest of casinos. Bob Dancer is America’s premier video poker writer and teacher. Along with Richard Munchkin, he co-hosts the radio show Gambling with an Edge. Podcasts of this show are regularly posted on CDCGamingReports.com.