Charles Barkley Hasn't Paid Gambling Debt, Casino And DA Say

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Charles Barkley insists the check is in the mail, but a Nevada prosecutor and a Las Vegas Strip casino want the retired NBA star to show them the money.

"He hasn't paid, and he hasn't contacted anyone at the casino or the DA's office," Deputy Clark County District Attorney Bernie Zadrowski said Tuesday. Zadrowski leads the bad-check unit handling the $400,000 gambling debt Barkley owes to the Wynn Las Vegas resort.

"We don't have any facts that would cause us to drop our lawsuit," said Jennifer Dunne, spokeswoman for the casino, which filed a civil complaint May 14 in Nevada state court alleging Barkley failed to repay four $100,000 casino markers, or loans, received last Oct. 18 and 19.

Barkley, a Turner Network Television basketball analyst, said during a pre-game show Monday that he was to blame for the gambling debt, and said the money had been paid.

"I screwed up and didn't pay them in a significant amount of time," Barkley said. "Could they have handled it differently? Yes. But it was my fault."

The 45-year-old Barkley also said he would stop gambling, at least for a while.

"For right now, the next year or two, I'm not going to gamble," he said. "Just because I can afford to lose money doesn't mean I should do it."

TNT spokesman Jeff Pomeroy said in an e-mail that a check was sent Monday by overnight delivery to the Wynn Las Vegas collections department. Pomeroy said he expected it would arrive Tuesday. He did not immediately respond to questions.

Barkley owes $440,000, Zadrowski said, because the district attorney's restitution policy adds a 10 percent fee to resolve a civil complaint.

Zadrowski said the district attorney's office mailed Barkley a demand for payment the day the Wynn complaint was filed. Barkley must respond by June 9, the prosecutor said, and could have up to six months to pay.

District Attorney David Roger had promised to file four felony theft or four bad check charges if Barkley didn't pay up. Each theft conviction could carry a penalty of one to 10 years in state prison. A felony bad check conviction could bring one to four years.

Barkley played 16 NBA seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets, and played on the USA Olympic "Dream Team" in 1992 and 1996. He was an 11-time NBA All-Star and was league MVP in 1993.

He has talked openly about his gambling, estimating during a May 2006 interview with ESPN that he'd gambled away about $10 million over the years.

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