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Gambling addict who owes Caesars millions gets probation

A Wisconsin man and self-admitted gambling addict ensnared in a bad check case for failing to pay off a $3.5 million marker to Caesars Entertainment was sentenced to five years of probation earlier this week.

However, Christian Peterson could clear his record of the two counts of attempted drawing and passing a check without sufficient funds if he pays Caesars Entertainment $2.5 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty in November.

As part of his probation, he is to pay $50,000, defense attorney Chris Rasmussen said, but if he pays only the $50,000, his case will not be expunged.

Peterson used to enjoy gaming industry perks such as gaming company jets flying him to Las Vegas where he played $25,000 blackjack hands.

On one such occasion in April 2008, Peterson said, he was leaving on a private jet when the plane was turned around midflight because of the threat of a crash and brought back to Las Vegas. There employees from Caesars Entertainment surrounded him and intimidated him into signing a $3.5 million marker, which he disputed he owed, he said.

Peterson sued the company over the incident and lost. In 2009, he was ordered to pay Caesars $2.5 million. He was indicted by a grand jury in 2010 on bad check charges for failing to pay the marker.

Since then, Peterson has declared bankruptcy in Wisconsin. It remains unknown whether he has the $50,000 for the criminal case or the $2.5 million to Caesars in the civil case.

Review-Journal reporter Mike Blasky contributed to this report. Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

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