Published on: September 6, 2022, 01:28 am.
Last updated: September 6, 2022, 01:29.
Police say a man barred from the Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf in Iowa wrongly gained access to the property last Friday and tried to exchange a counterfeit bill with the cashier’s cage.
Law enforcement officials say 37-year-old Mark Hampton, a local resident of Bettendorf, entered the Isle Casino shortly before 6:30 p.m. CDT on September 2nd. Police allege in charging documents that Hampton went to the casino cage where he tried to get about $100. in exchange for a currency note, which he claimed was worth that amount.
The affidavit says the defendant “attempted to exchange the counterfeit note for currency at the casino exchange.” After casino tellers denied the transaction and confiscated the fake bill, Hampton attempted to exit the property but was detained by police.
Hampton admitted that he knew his privileges to play at the casino had been revoked. But in need of cash, he claimed he only entered the casino to exchange foreign currency, which he told authorities was legitimate.
Mark Hampton has a long criminal record in Iowa. An online search of the court found 30 cases in which he was named as a defendant.
In 2021, Isle Casino, fed up with Hampton’s shenanigans, decided to bar him from further access to the gaming room. His ban took effect in July 2021.
Hampton’s explanation for trying to exchange the purportedly legitimate foreign $100 bill at the Isle Casino raised eyebrows among casino security and local law enforcement. Most banks and credit unions offer currency exchange services based on current exchange rates. Casino cashier cages do too, but usually for a hefty fee.
Isle Casino is operated by Caesars Entertainment. The 35,000-square-foot former riverboat has 935 slot machines, 19 table games and a Caesars Sportsbook. The resort has over 500 hotel rooms, three restaurants and a 1,700-seat theater.
The casino is one of the beneficiaries of the state which earlier this year passed a two-year moratorium on new casinos. The bill, signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) in June, blocked gaming development in Cedar Rapids, about 70 miles northwest of Isle Casino.
Proponents of the moratorium argued that halting new gambling licenses would allow incumbents to experience a controlled and stable gambling market in the wake of the pandemic and new commercial casinos opening in neighboring Nebraska.
Felony charge filed
After reviewing the affidavit, state prosecutors representing Scott County filed a forgery charge against Hampton for his foreign exchange scheme. Additional charges, including trespassing, could be filed later.
Hampton has since been released from the Scott County Jail on his own recognizance. He is due in court for a preliminary hearing on September 23.
A person convicted of a Class D felony, such as the one Hampton is facing, can be punished with up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 plus interest and court costs.