Barkley to Pay $400,000 Gambling Debt
According to Ken Ritter of the AP Charles Barkley acknowledged he owes a $400,000 gambling debt to a Las Vegas Strip casino and promised Thursday to repay it after a prosecutor said the retired NBA star faced criminal charges. “My mistake,” Barkley said in an interview at a pro-am golf tournament in Hoover, Ala. “I’m not broke, and I’m going to take care of it.”
Barkley was responding to comments by Clark County District Attorney David Roger, who said prosecutors would file a criminal complaint if he did not pay the debt cited by the Wynn Las Vegas resort.
“He’ll have an opportunity like anybody else to make restitution to the hotel,” Roger said.
The casino alleged in a civil complaint filed Wednesday in a Nevada state court and first reported by the Las Vegas Sun that Barkley failed to repay four $100,000 casino markers, or loans, received last Oct. 18 and 19.
“To date, and despite repeated demands, Barkley has refused to repay the $400,000,” the complaint said.
In a radio interview with sports station WJOX in Birmingham, Ala., Barkley repeatedly blamed himself for letting the debt lapse.
He told radio interviewers and a reporter at the golf tournament that the debt stemmed from a wager on the 2008 Super Bowl. He did not explain why Wynn alleged the loans were made in October.
“I’ve been gambling 20 years. I’ve never had this happen before,” the 45-year-old Barkley told WJOX. “It’s my fault I let the time lapse. I screwed up.”
Barkley, now a basketball analyst for Turner Network Television, denied any personal financial problems, and said the casino didn’t call him before filing the complaint.
“All they had to do is call and say, ‘Hey, you owe us this money,'” he said.
A Wynn Las Vegas spokeswoman did not immediately respond to Barkley’s comments. A hotel official earlier declined comment on the court case, citing ongoing litigation.