Gamblers visiting casinos in Nevada forfeit up to $35 million by way of unclaimed winnings from slot and video machine tickets that have been lost, torn or abandoned. The money is typically split between the casinos and the state of Nevada in accordance with a 2011 law.
Winners need to take these machine-dispensed tickets to designated kiosks or the casino’s cage for redemption. If not, the vouchers lapse within the time limit set by the casino in question, or within 180 days, whichever is sooner as per current state laws.
The Assembly Bill 219 passed in 2011 specifies that 75 percent of the revenue arising from abandoned machine vouchers is to be sent to the general fund while casinos get the remaining 25 percent.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board is in charge of collecting the unclaimed money and dispatching it to the state’s general fund. The casinos report the total money that’s not been claimed each quarter and pays the board 75 percent of it, which is then forwarded to the state.
In the past four years, Nevada has gained nearly $8 million by way of expired voucher money. In the 2016 fiscal, nearly $12 million was collected via lost vouchers out of which the state took $8.78 million. The Las Vegas Strip is unsurprisingly the location where most of these vouchers are collected. In 2016, out of the $12 million collected, tickets worth nearly $7 million were found in casinos located on the Strip.
Downtown is next with $1 million in lost ticket winnings. Other top regions are: Washoe County with around $900,000, Clark County (excluding downtown, the Strip, North Las Vegas and the Boulder Strip with $651,393, Boulder Strip with little over $500,000, South Tahoe at $223,275 and finally North Las Vegas with $193,640.
Casinos do not report any breakup of the amount received through abandoned tickets. It can be assumed several of them are small wins that players don’t think worthwhile to be redeemed. Players may also fail to turn in their tickets if it is too torn or damaged. However casinos actually make every effort to honour legible tickets even if damaged. Another critical point is that the tickets are anonymous and similar to cash, but in many cases the casinos are able to trace the owners through use of associated loyalty cards or rewards programs. Casinos also try to return lost tickets by mailing them to the owners if they can trace the rightful owners.